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Woman who faked cancer to claim sick pay from Harrogate-based charity jailed for £86k fraud

ROBERTSHAW, Patricia Helen

Published by Lizzy McEllan at 5:35pm 14th March 2019. (Updated at 5:44pm 14th March 2019)

A woman who pretended she had cancer in an “astonishingly unethical” fraud has been jailed for more than four years.

  • Patricia Robertshaw, 42, from Barrowford in Lancashire, has been jailed for four years and five months for conning her ex employer, Yorkshire Cancer Research, out of over £80,000
  • Robertshaw faked she was suffering from cancer, claiming £15k of sick pay
  • She also forged sick notes from her doctor
  • Robertshaw had provided false qualifications to get the job - something she did in previous roles - including at Leeds Beckett University
  • She was charged with four counts of fraud and one of forgery

Patricia Helen Robertshaw, who worked as an events manager at Yorkshire Cancer Research in Harrogate, put entries in her diary for fictitious hospital, chemotherapy and radiotherapy appointments and took extended periods of leave, claiming to be recovering from life-saving surgery.

The North Yorkshire Police detective who led the investigation said it was “the most abhorrent fraud” he had ever investigated in 25 years as a police officer.

Robertshaw, of Gisburn Road in Barrowford, Lancashire, maintained the deceit for around two years, fraudulently claiming sick pay and time off from her employer.

The 42-year-old also lied about her qualifications, producing false certificates to get jobs, and submitted fake sick notes that were detected by the charity.

While working for a previous employer, Leeds Beckett University, she also forged leadership qualifications for 55 students for work they completed under her guidance.

She pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and forging certificates when she appeared at York Crown Court in January.

A judge at the same court sent her to prison for four years and five months when she appeared for sentence today.

She was sentenced for four fraud counts, including £86,833 against the charity, and one count of forgery.

Speaking after the case, Detective Constable Shane Martin, who led the case for North Yorkshire Police, said:

“This is the most abhorrent fraud case I have investigated in 25 years of being a police officer.

“It’s absolutely incomprehensible that anyone could lie about having such a serious illness.

Everything about the way Robertshaw conducted herself during this fraud is astonishingly unethical.

“It was a callous and calculated crime to try to trick her former employer – a charity that works for the good of real cancer patients and uses donations made in good faith to fund lifechanging services and research.

“Fortunately though, the charity detected that something was amiss and that led to an extensive fraud investigation by North Yorkshire Police.

“As our investigation progressed, we uncovered a level of deceit that is, frankly, shocking.

“Today’s sentence, however, ensures a truly immoral person has been dealt with justly.”

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