A woman who claimed she had terminal cancer so she could con a charity into paying £15,000 for a wedding has been spared jail.
Carla Evans, 29, pretended to have bladder cancer, thyroid cancer and liver and kidney failure to defraud charity Wish Upon a Wedding, which helps to fund family events for people with terminal illnesses.
She was caught after Karen Hobbs, a volunteer from the charity, became suspicious when she forged a letter from an NHS consultant at the Royal Gwent Hospital saying she was terminally ill.
Mrs Hobbs launched her own investigation before contacting the police.
When interviewed by police, Evans first denied forging the note but later admitted she had written it herself.
Emma Harris, prosecuting, said the cost of Evans’ vowel renewal ceremony would have been £15,000 but there was no actual monetary loss to the charity because of the deception.
The charity asked for just £500 towards the cost and asked for proof of her diagnosis in return.
Mrs Harris read a statement from Mrs Hobbs in which she said she can no longer trust people and had given up her charity work.
“Carla had all my attention and trust, and I became very close to Carla and treated her as a friend,” she said.
Evans, of Caerphilly, South Wales, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to fraud by false representation.
Ashanti-Jade Walton, defending, added: “She has lost her good character and let down her family.”
Judge Jeremy Jenkins said only her two young children had saved Evans from an immediate custodial sentence.
The judge told her: “The facts of this case are rather unusual, albeit shocking.
“It was a cruel and calculating fraud upon Karen Hobbs and the charity Wish Upon a Wedding.
“You are a particularly devious type of person who should be utterly ashamed of yourself.
“Your behaviour beggars belief.”
He imposed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for 15 months, and ordered her to complete 120 hours unpaid work and 15 days of rehabilitation.
Evans was also told to pay £340 prosecution costs and £140 surcharge.
Lisa Bennett, from the Crown Prosecution Service, described Evans as “callous” and said she took advantage of sympathy afforded to a dying lady.
She said she hoped the conviction would bring some sense of justice to Wish Upon a Wedding.