A mother-of-one faked a deadly cancer and spent £45,000 from well-wishers to spend on foreign holidays and trips to Premier League football matches, a court has heard.
Nicole Elkabbass is accused of using the cash to splash out on breaks abroad and tickets to see Tottenham Hotspur play, as well as on restaurants and “heavy gambling”.
The 42-year-old allegedly created a GoFundMe page posing as an ovarian cancer victim, complete with a fake picture of her stricken in a hospital bed.
Prosecutor Ben Irwin described how the page “Nicole needs our help treatments”, seemingly written by her mother, described Elkabbass as a “beautiful daughter” and “loving mum” who was “recently diagnosed”.
It came with a photo portraying Elkabbass as frail, lying on her back in a hospital bed under a blanket, with her eyes closed and mouth open.
But the picture was actually taken after she had an operation to remove her gallbladder, the court heard.
Irwin told a jury at Canterbury Crown Court the ploy was a ruse to prop up her lavish lifestyle, including shelling out £3,592 on Spurs tickets and "gambling heavily online".
Giving evidence, Elkabbass’s former friend Nicholas Humphrey Morris, a consultant gynaecologist, denied her claims that he diagnosed her with cancer.
He said it was Elkabbass who informed him she had fallen ill and, on hearing she had set up a crowdfunding page, he suspected foul play.
He explained he recognised the hospital in the photo from its distinctive bedside wallpaper as the Spencer Hospital in Margate, Kent, where she had been treated for a separate operation two years prior.
Morris added: “She has never been a patient of mine and she has never been to see me at any hospitals or the clinics I work in.”
The prosecution claims Elkabbass staged the photo and that she claimed the 39 donations would go through Ramsgate’s Jewish Synagogue.
But Rabbi Clifford Cohen, who is expected to give evidence later in the trial, claims he has never heard of her, the court heard.
Elkabbass, of Broadstairs, Kent, is facing two counts of fraud that relate to money she received between February and August 2018.
She is expected to argue she honestly believed she suffered from the disease. Her case is yet to be heard but she denies the charges.
The trial continues.
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