Mortgage broker faked having terminal breast cancer to avoid trial over £18,000 con

Ellen Manning
·3-min read
Jean Adshead
Jean Adshead lied about having terminal breast cancer to avoid standing trial. (Reach)

A mortgage broker faked having terminal breast cancer so she could avoid standing trial for conning a man out of £18,000.

Jean Adshead took payments from the man to help him buy a pub but instead pocketed the money for herself.

Adshead, 57, denied committing the crime in 2013 and then claimed she had cancer to avoid standing trial.

She even provided forged documents to the court and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and nearly got the case dismissed until officials realised one of the doctors who had apparently written one of the reports had retired in 2016.

Adshead, of Moreton Road, Solihull, who has a string of previous offences, pleaded guilty to fraud and perverting the course of justice and has now been jailed for 28 months.

A general view of Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
Adshead was jailed for 28 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court. (PA)

The court heard the victim of the con had contacted Adshead in April 2013 because he wanted her help to buy The Alma pub in Newcastle, Staffordshire.

"As a result of that, there became a number of charges made by the defendant causing the victim to pay out a substantial amount of money," prosecutor Roger Brown told the court.

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"There came a point where things stopped for a moment. She claimed to be ill. In fact, she had been sent to prison for almost exactly the same type of offence.

"She came out of prison and she started sending the victim further messages requiring more money. But by this time, he had started looking into what was happening.

"He realised he had been swindled and stopped paying her money. The total amount was over £18,000 in cash and bank transfers. He realised she was swindling him because somebody else had bought The Alma, but she was still requesting money."

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Adshead was arrested and denied that she had been swindling the man, prompting a trial to be set.

The court heard that Adshead had been diagnosed and treated for skin cancer between October 2016 and February 2017 but claimed she couldn't attend court relating to the charges because she was suffering from cancer. It later emerged that she was lying.

The prosecutor told the court: "What eventually happened was that there had been so much concern that the defendant was seriously ill, and had been for a long time, so that the Crown Prosecution Service decided to consider whether or not it was in the public interest for this prosecution to continue.

"This information was given to the victim of the fraud and he suffered considerable distress by that decision. As a consequence of that, they decided to contact the doctor who had written the report given by Adshead and it turned out that he had retired from the NHS in March 2016.

"The defendant was arrested for perverting the course of justice in November 2019. She stated she was terrified of going back to jail."

Elizabeth Power, representing Adshead, said she had spent four months in prison for the same type of offence and had a "harrowing" time so was petrified of returning.

Sentencing Adshead, Judge David Fletcher said: "The decision made by the CPS to check again what was an extremely convincing forgery of a letter from a consultant oncologist is the only reason why this matter unravelled.

"I was convinced myself about the circumstances you were putting forward and illnesses you were saying you had.

"You had numerous conversations with members of staff at this court, numerous emails were exchanged explaining about your breast cancer.

"Explaining that your life expectancy was severely reduced to such an extent that having been made aware of the documentation we were giving clear indication to the Crown that they should review the decision to prosecute.

"I hope at the age of 57 this puts all criminal behaviour behind you."

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