A "cold and calculated" young mum narrowly avoided jail after faking terminal cancer in a bid to secure thousands of pounds worth of sponsorship money and her dream wedding.
Danielle Watson received a 12-month suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to six charges of fraud by false representation, committed during the lead-up to her wedding while she was living in Billericay.
The 24-year-old mother-of-two, who now lives in Rowhedge, Colchester, pocketed thousands of pounds from well-wishers in Billericay after telling them she had a "15 percent chance of survival."
She also accepted donations from wedding suppliers, claiming she did not have long to live. Watson sobbed in the dock as she was sentenced by Recorder Gerard Pounder at Basildon Crown Court on Friday. He handed her a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, ordering she must also carry out 200 hours unpaid work.
Businesses in Billericay donated items for Watson's dream wedding in April 2012 including a free wedding dress, wedding planning services, hair styling and ten bottles of champagne. She also received a heavy discount for her booking at The Ivory Rooms, in Laindon Road.
Watson had told fundraisers she wanted to marry before she started chemotherapy and lost her hair. Her sick con was only exposed when she became pregnant and announced it to confused fundraisers on Twitter, prompting a fraud investigation.
The admin worker was arrested in July 2012 and later charged. She admitted all charges at the start of her trial in October 2014.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Investigating Officer Dc Rob Lewis"]We would like to thank the large number of witnesses and victims for their patience and support throughout the investigation. Danielle Watson acted in a cold and calculated manner, she be-friended and abused the trust of kind and generous people who wanted to help a person they thought was dying. She obtained significant financial gain, gifts and services from the kind hearted. At no stage in the investigation did she demonstrate any form of remorse or shoulder responsibility for her conduct. Albeit the victims are disappointed with the sentence received by Mrs Watson, justice has today been served. We hope that this will deter others from committing rare crimes of this nature, which have such a devastating impact on the victims. And sadly have an adverse effect on the good work of charities. We would like to reassure the public that Essex Police will take positive action to bring offenders to justice.[/quote]