Toni Standen, 29, reportedly pretended to have terminal cancer and received more than $11,000 from friends and family, according to British news outlet Mirror. The generous donations were raised after Standen said she wanted to have her cancer-stricken father walk her down the aisle before either of them passed away.
“It’s gone to my brain, my bones – it’s everywhere,” Standen told multiple news outlets while she kept up the ruse for three years.
The woman even went on to shave her head for a time.
However, Standen drew suspicion at her 150-person wedding when guests noticed she had a lot of energy and appeared to not be moved by the video left by her 57-year-old father who died before the big day.
“After hearing her father’s labored words she got up and gave a faultless speech, even cracking a few jokes,“ an anonymous guest told Mirror. “Her mother and brother were in bits. We’d all just listened to a father of the bride message from beyond the grave.”
Standen went on her honeymoon in Turkey without issue.
At the start of 2020, Standen claimed she had two months to live. And by February, a post shared to her Facebook account said she had died, but she later walked that back by saying hackers put up the false update.
A month later, Standen traveled to five European countries. In April, Standen claimed she had contracted the coronavirus. Cancer patients can be at standard- or high-risk for the respiratory illness, according to Cancer Core Europe.
Two unnamed friends confronted Standen after her coronavirus claim and asked her if she actually had cancer, according to Mirror.
“We rang her for a three-way conversation and recorded it. We asked her straight: ‘Have you really got cancer?’” The friends told the outlet. “She started crying and admitted it was all lies. We ended the call and phoned the police straight away.”
Standen pleaded guilty to fraud and false representation at the Chester Magistrates’ Court in late November. District judge Nicholas Sanders has ordered Standen to repay her donors.
Mirror reports that Standen’s husband, James, 52, was present at his wife’s court date.