Woman who faked cancer to claim sick pay from Harrogate cancer charity jailed for £87,000 fraud

Patricia Robertshaw, 42, was jailed for four years and five months after pretending to have cancer and defrauding the charity she worked for.
Patricia Robertshaw, 42, was jailed for four years and five months after pretending to have cancer and defrauding the charity she worked for.

A woman who pretended she had cancer in an 'astonishingly unethical' fraud has been jailed for more than four years following an investigation by North Yorkshire Police.

Patricia Helen Robertshaw, 42, of Gisburn Road in Barrowford, Lancshire, 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 maintained the deceit for around two years, fraudulently claiming sick pay and time off from her employer.

While working for a previous employer, a 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.

On Thursday March 14 a judge at the same court sent her to prison for four years and five months.

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.”