[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 4 December, 2003, 17:40 GMT
Conman told family he had cancer
Glen Rycroft
Rycroft conned people out of more than 200,000
A 27-year-old man has admitted conning family and friends out of thousands of pounds by pretending he had cancer.

Glenn Rycroft told well-wishers he needed money for specialist treatments, shaving his head to pretend he was undergoing chemotherapy.

He told others he would invest their money in fictitious investment schemes.

In total, the former British Airways flight attendant raised more than 200,000 before he was found out.

Rycroft, from Derby Road, Salford, admitted to 25 counts of deception at Manchester Crown Court and will be sentenced on Friday.

At Thursday's hearing, Rycroft's counsel Toby Hedworth QC claimed he had carried out the deceptions because he had been subjected to psychological pressure by members of a bizarre cult called The Community of Free Spirits.

Mr Hedworth said that a woman in the cult had been the most important person to him for much of Rycroft's life and that he felt threatened by rejection.

But the judge rejected that as a defence so Rycroft pleaded guilty to 25 of the 30 charges put to him.

'Medical treatment'

Rycroft 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 money he obtained by claiming to have cancer.

He told people the money would be used for medical treatment.

The two counts concerned amounts of 5,000 and 15,000.

He pleaded not guilty to five charges.

The prosecution said those cases would not be pursued because, even leaving them aside, Rycroft had admitted to deception totalling more than 200,000.

Head shaving

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, even shaving his head at one time to convince well-wishers he was undergoing treatment.

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 scam also led to police uncovering his business scams.

Suicide attempt

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.

Applying for bail, Mr Hedworth said that there were no worries of another suicide attempt because Rycroft's mother and sister, with whom he lived, were supporting him.

"He has known what the end result of this could have been for some considerable time," said Mr Hedworth.

"He will not be cast adrift on his own and will be in the bosom of his family."

Rycroft was released on bail and refused to speak to reporters as he left the court.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific