UK Markets close in 2 hrs 1 min
  • FTSE 100

    6,676.69
    -38.73 (-0.58%)
     
  • FTSE 250

    20,631.60
    -162.12 (-0.78%)
     
  • AIM

    1,191.23
    -6.86 (-0.57%)
     
  • GBP/EUR

    1.1230
    -0.0051 (-0.45%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3659
    -0.0072 (-0.5218%)
     
  • BTC-GBP

    23,815.80
    +1,611.26 (+7.26%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    644.21
    +34.22 (+5.61%)
     
  • S&P 500

    3,853.07
    +1.22 (+0.03%)
     
  • DOW

    31,176.01
    -12.37 (-0.04%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    51.86
    -1.27 (-2.39%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,841.50
    -24.40 (-1.31%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    28,631.45
    -125.41 (-0.44%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    29,447.85
    -479.91 (-1.60%)
     
  • DAX

    13,853.39
    -53.28 (-0.38%)
     
  • CAC 40

    5,542.91
    -47.88 (-0.86%)
     

Woman who lied about terminal cancer diagnosis so friends would pay for dream wedding jailed

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Toni Standen invented a story that ovarian cancer had spread to other parts of her body and that she had received a terminal diagnosis. (Reach)
Toni Standen invented a story that ovarian cancer had spread to other parts of her body and that she had received a terminal diagnosis. (Reach)

A woman who falsely claimed she was dying of cancer so friends would contribute thousands of pounds to pay for her dream wedding has been jailed.

Toni Standen, 29, invented a story that ovarian cancer had spread to other parts of her body and that she had received a terminal diagnosis.

Close friends launched a GoFundMe page to give Standen and her partner James "a wedding they deserve".

However, Standen, originally from West Derby, Liverpool, but now of Widnes, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to fraud at Chester Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, where she was jailed for five months.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that in June 2015 Standen told two of her friends, Ashlea Rowson and Jennifer Douglas, that she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Toni Standen's friends contributed thousands to pay for her dream wedding. (Reach)
Toni Standen's friends contributed thousands to pay for her dream wedding. (Reach)

Standen provided regular updates on her treatment to her friends with such clarity and detail that the condition was never questioned.

She also shaved her head to appear as though she was undergoing treatment and shared pictures on social media.

Her seemingly heartbreaking story was covered in the media and Standen raised £8,344 via the crowdfunding page and through gifts including flowers and cars for the wedding.

Watch: Cancer survivor gives back to help prevent disease

Standen tugged at heartstrings by saying she wanted her dad Derek, who was genuinely dying of cancer, to walk her down the aisle.

Derek died before the wedding but a video he recorded was played on the big day.

Suspicion grew surrounding Toni Standen’s condition after the wedding. (Reach)
Suspicion grew surrounding Toni Standen’s condition after the wedding. (Reach)

One guest said: "After hearing her father's laboured words she got up and gave a faultless speech, even cracking a few jokes.

"Her mother and brother were in bits. We'd all just listened to a father of the bride message from beyond the grave.

"Toni even received a video message from Everton FC, delivered by one of the top players. She laughed throughout."

Suspicion grew surrounding Standen’s condition after the wedding and she eventually admitted what she had done in a three-way phone call with her friends – which they recorded.

In a text to friends after she admitted her scam, she said: "I love you both, I am thankful for everything over the last couple of years.

"I am very sorry for all of this, I am embarrassed and heartbroken and right now I am struggling.”

Toni Standen was jailed for five months at Chester Magistrates’ Court. (Wikipedia)
Toni Standen was jailed for five months at Chester Magistrates’ Court. (Wikipedia)

Judge Nicholas Sanders, sentencing, said: “You continued to embellish that tissue of lies, saying you had weeks to live.

"I don't accept you couldn't stop. Not only did you not stop, you made it worse by giving newspaper interviews to engender public sympathy.

"You used that money raised through the generosity of strangers to fund a wedding and a holiday.

"You kept taking money over many months. Every right thinking member of society would be appalled by your behaviour.”

Standen was also ordered to repay a donation of £2,000 made by a local businessman who said in a victim statement that he would think twice before giving to this sort of charity again.

Watch: Up to 50,000 cancers going undiagnosed due to COVID, report finds