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Croydon teacher facing jail after conning colleagues out of £20,000 by faking terminal cancer

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THIS picture shows a Croydon teacher about to guzzle luxury Champagne, having conned colleagues out of £20,000 – by "repeatedly" lying about having terminal cancer.

Ursula Rose, a teacher at Oasis Academy Shirley Park, faces jail after being found guilty of defrauding friends who jumped to her aid by lending the money for what they believed to be emergency treatment.

This photo was taken at a "fundraiser" held by the friends, to support the mother of four.

A jury at Croydon Crown Court, which also heard Rose went on holiday after raking in the cash – despite claiming she was penniless – convicted the 42-year-old, who exploited friends' goodwill and told lies about having six brain tumours to swindle the money.

While a teaching assistant in 2008-09 at St Thomas Becket Catholic Primary School, in South Norwood, she said she needed up to £40,000 for "wonder" drugs from the US, alongside specialist operations in private hospitals.

Rose, of Westgate Road, South Norwood, even bought a wig in preparation for "hair loss" to deceive her peers, while forged letters were handed to Thomas Becket's head teacher detailing her "illness".

Claire Robinson, prosecuting, told Rose: "You knew there was nothing wrong with you from the start, didn't you?

"You told this story to a lot of people about brain tumours and cancer to get their sympathy. You told them you were having an operation that was life-threatening and you might die.

"You, over a number of months and years, repeatedly told friends and colleagues you had cancer and were having treatment. You defrauded these people out of large sums of money."

Uncovering the fraud rested on a number of events.

The first was a fundraiser at Bar Txt, in South Croydon, organised by colleagues of Thomas Becket for Rose's treatment.

But in court, she claimed the event was not for herself and was for children with leukaemia.

However, a card sent by Rose to then colleague Iona Horwood, read to the court, said: "I most certainly do remember the fundraiser you done [sic] for me in May. It was so appreciated by me and my family."

Rose also claimed in a police interview that "no fundraising" had been done that evening, and it was just a "girls' night out".

Meanwhile a text sent to colleague Anna Anastasi in 2009 said: "Hi darling, not good news, treatment not worked, is now terminal." Rose claimed her phone was stolen and someone else sent the message.

The fraud came to light when Thomas Becket head teacher Noel Campbell contacted Rose's doctor, who told him she did not have cancer but suffered from migraine-like headaches.

The jury convicted Rose of four counts of fraud on Wednesday after a five-day trial. Rose, who became a teacher at Oasis after completing a postgraduate certificate in education in 2011, will be sentenced on April 18.

Croydon teacher facing jail after conning colleagues out of £20,000 by faking terminal cancer


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