A judge who jailed a con artist who faked having cancer to dupe people into donating money, said he was “astonished” by remarks made about her by an MP about the case.
Carolyn Harris MP made comments in relation to the sentencing of Nicole Elkabbas.
Described as a “confidence trickster” by the prosecution, Elkabbas, who is Jewish, conned members of the public out of thousands using a convincing GoFundMe page and even a picture of her lying in a hospital bed.
The comments by Ms Harris were referred to by Judge Mark Weekes during the sentencing hearing at Canterbury Crown Court on Wednesday.
He told Elkabbas: “I am astonished to read from Mrs Carolyn Harris MP that she considers you were ‘honest about the crimes you had committed’.”
He added that he “cannot help but wonder” if this was a “further instance of your playing with the truth” and manipulating others.
Responding to the judge’s words, the Swansea East representative told the PA news agency: “My comments were in connection with her addiction leading her to crime.
“Like so many who fall into the trap of addiction, they commit crimes out of desperation and whilst Nicole was wrong to commit the crime, she has been honest in her mitigation as to why she did so.”
Elkabbas was jailed for two years and nine months after having scammed more than £45,000 in donations.
She claimed the money was for ovarian cancer treatment but instead spent it gambling as well as trips to Barcelona and Rome and a box at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
The 42-year-old Elkabbas, of Edge End Road in Broadstairs, Kent, appeared at Canterbury Crown Court after being found guilty by majority verdicts last November of fraud by false representation and possession of criminal property.
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