A young mother who faked brain cancer and spent over £16,000 in donation money escaped jail and was ordered to pay back just £1 of her ill-gotten gains.

Megan Scotcher, 28, from Ripley, Derbyshire, set up an online fundraising page claiming doctors had discovered a mass on her brain and that she had been diagnosed with cancer.

Her own mother became suspicious when she would make her wait outside appointments, and when she tried to contact an oncologist, she found that "one didn't exist."

Scotcher, who has no previous convictions of any kind, previously pleaded guilty to fraud over video link at a hearing at the same court on June 3.

She told police she had got into debt with an ex-partner. Scotcher was handed a 10-month jail sentence, suspended for a year.

The judge showed sympathy to her situation, agreeing that she was "trapped and things snowballed."

Nottingham Crown Court heard how Scotcher had accepted money between June and December 2020 in charitable donations, including from one person who took part in a 1,000-km cycle ride to raise money for her and her children, reports Nottinghamshire Live.

Gurdial Singh, prosecuting, said Scotcher had been diagnosed with cancer as a teenager, but went into remission. Last year, she told her family it had come back and that it was terminal, he said.

Mr Singh said: "A GoFundMe page was set up and there was publicity in the Derby Telegraph and then The Sun newspaper about her plight.

"One mother, who knew her as hers and the defendant's two sons went to school, together also raised £2,315.

"In October of last year, the defendant told her mother she had a mass on her brain and would only live until January.

"But her mother became suspicious as her daughter made her wait outside hospital appointments she had taken to saying she could not come in because of Covid-19.

"The mother then tried to contact an oncologist but one didn't exist.”

Mr Singh said Scotcher, now a mother of three having given birth to a daughter just two months ago, then attempted to take her own life.

Handing her the sentence, the judge said: "You told a terrible lie to your family and friends. They are the headlines, but I have read a lot about you.

"You were trapped and things snowballed. What you did was serious and caused a great deal of upset to family, friends and people who generously contributed and who feel taken advantage of.

"The probation service assesses you as somebody who presents a low risk of reoffending and I agree with that."

As part of the suspended sentence Scotcher was also ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work.

She was also ordered to pay back a nominal £1 from her ill-gotten gains as she has no money or assets.

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