A Trecenydd woman who lied about having terminal cancer so a charity would pay £15,000 for her wedding has been given a suspended sentence.
Carla Louise Evans was handed a 12-month sentence, suspended for 15 months, at Newport Crown Court on Friday, August 16.
Prosecutor Emma Harris told the court how the 29-year-old mother of two had contacted Manchester-based charity Wish Upon a Wedding through Facebook.
The charity provides the cost of weddings for couples dealing with terminal illness.
Evans, of Second Avenue, had convinced the charity that she had terminal liver and bladder cancer and had little time left.
The costs of Evans’ wedding would have been around £15,000, with Evans having to pay just £500.
Evans had even forged a letter from an NHS consultant explaining her condition.
Ms Harris read out a victim impact statement from the charity’s Karen Hobbs, who had made numerous visits to Evans to help arrange the wedding.
Mrs Hobbs explained how the events “changed my life” and that she has since stepped down from her role with the charity because she “can’t trust anyone anymore”.
It continued: “I became very close to Carla. To tell people my judgement of Carla was wrong was the hardest moment I’ve had in the wedding industry.
“I honestly believed Carla was dying.”
Mrs Hobbs also explained how she nearly missed the birth of her grandchild to help Evans.
“Carla was very good at convincing us and had us all fooled.
“It’s really sad as there are people out there needing our help.”
Ms Harris said: “Something did not sit right with Karen Hobbs as the letter was not written in a way usually expected.
“It became clear very quickly that the doctor has not signed the letter.
“Checks by the NHS counter-fraud team showed the letter was fraudulent and there was no record of any terminal illness in respect of Evans.”
The lie was found out before any money was paid out by the charity.
Defending Evans, Ashanti Walton said: “There’s no escaping the facts of this offence are awful.
“She appreciates she has only herself to blame.”
Ms Walton told the court how after Evans’ actions had become known to the public, she had received “an array of abuse on Facebook”, as well as had threats made against her two children, who are aged 11 and five.
His Honour Judge Jeremy Jenkins described Evans’ actions as “shocking” and said: “Wish Upon a Wedding is a commendable charity and has at its heart the belief that people should have some happiness before their death.”
The judge also described Evans’ actions as “a cruel and calculated fraud on Mrs Hobbs and the charity.”
He said: “This was a despicable act. The lowest of the low. It shows a contempt of decency.
“It takes a particularly devious type of person to do that. You should be utterly ashamed of yourself.”
However, Judge Jenkins explained that had it not been for Evans’ two young children, he would have sent her straight to jail.
After imposing a suspended sentence on Evans, he said: “Make no mistake, these terms will be adhered to.”
Evans was also ordered to complete 15 days of rehabilitation requirement and take part in 120 hours of unpaid community service.
Evans was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £340, as well as court costs, within six months.