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Last Updated: Friday, 5 December, 2003, 18:24 GMT
Cancer conman jailed
Glenn Rycroft, enjoying a holiday in the Algarve when he was supposed to be receiving cancer treatment
Rycroft lied about specialist foreign treatment to get holidays paid for
A 27-year-old man who admitted conning family and friends out of thousands of pounds by pretending he had cancer has been jailed for four years.

Glenn Rycroft even shaved his head to look as though he had undergone chemotherapy for a brain tumour.

Judge John Burke QC, at Manchester Crown Court, said his actions had been "mean, wicked and indeed heartless".

The former flight attendant, from Derby Road, Salford, used the money for fictitious investment schemes and lavish holidays after raising more than 200,000.

Rycroft, admitted to 25 counts of deception at Manchester Crown Court and was sentenced on Friday.

'Ingenious lengths'

Sentencing, Judge Burke said: "You embarked on this most extraordinary campaign of deceit that had as its object the theft of thousands of pounds.

"Your victims, who parted with, in some case, their life savings entrusted you with their money and included members of your own family and close friends.

"If that were not mean enough, you later pretended you were suffering from cancer and went to ingenious lengths to substantiate those claims."

Alan Kan
The effects of Glen's callous acts will impact on us for a long time to come. For our loyalty and trust, we were rewarded with betrayal and... heartache
Alan Kan, Rycroft's best friend
Maurice Greene, prosecuting, said Rycroft had behaved in a "calculated" way and deceived many people.

Mr Greene said that in nine months he went on eight trips abroad at a cost of around 28,000 - visiting Chicago, Amsterdam, Nassau, the Algarve, Canada, United States and Australia, staying in five-star hotels.

On many of the trips he would take friends with him who never suspected his illness was a pretence.

Defence counsel Toby Hedworth QC said Rycroft wanted to publicly apologise to his victims.

He said Rycroft was now bankrupt and a "broken man".

At a hearing on Thursday, Rycroft pleaded guilty to 25 of the 30 charges put to him.

'Medical treatment'

He admitted obtaining money by deception from people by promising to put it into an investment fund. The amounts ranged from 1,000 to 50,000.

Two of the charges related to 20,000 he obtained by claiming to have cancer.

Glenn Rycroft on holiday in the Algarve, where he claimed he was receiving specialist cancer treatment
Rycroft, here in the Algarve, also had trips to the USA and Australia
Rycroft left his work as a cabin crew member at BA in March 2001 on the pretence of looking after his mother Gwyneth, who, despite being healthy, he claimed was dying of cancer.

He began his campaign of deception over his own non-existent cancer in December 2000.

When some well-wishers expressed suspicion Rycroft produced a letter - later found to be forged - from a supposed cancer specialist at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.

Police were contacted after suspicions were raised by members of clubs where charity nights in aid of Rycroft had been held.

The discovery of the cancer con also led to police uncovering his business scams.

'Callous betrayal'

After his deceptions were uncovered Rycroft tried to kill himself by dousing himself and the inside of his car in petrol and driving into the central reservation of the A1(M) motorway in West Yorkshire.

But he was pulled from the wreckage by two passing motorists.

Speaking after the sentence, Rycroft's former best friend Alan Kan, 25, who had travelled on trips abroad when he claimed he was having treatment, spoke of how betrayed he and his family felt.

"Today is the end of a lot of suffering for me and my family," he said. "The effects of Glenn's callous acts will impact on us for a long time to come.

"For our loyalty and trust, we were rewarded with betrayal and a lot of heartache.

"During the time we thought we were helping a sick and dying friend, Glenn nearly destroyed my future and relationship with friends and family."

The BBC's Janet Barrie
"Rycroft was just living the high life"

Conman told family he had cancer
04 Dec 03  |  Manchester

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