She splurged the $22,784 raised to ‘cure’ her on clothes and shoes
Frankston: A young Australian woman who received $22,784 from a fundraiser after falsely claiming she had a terminal illness became trapped in a web of lies that spiralled out of control, Frankston Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday. Vanessa Barry’s lies included creating false documents to back her claims that she had a tumour called meningioma.
Police prosecutor Leading Sen-Constable Karen Molloy said Barry also cut her hair to show family and friends that she was going to have a biopsy. She pleaded guilty to obtaining property by deception. Molloy said Barry initially had a seizure in May, 2012, and at Monash Hospital, a range of possible diseases including a brain tumour were discussed with her.
Molloy said. “From this conversation, things spiralled out of control... the accused researched the brain tumour on the internet and the cause and effect so she could keep the lie continuing.’’ Family and friends organised ‘A Night for Noo’ fundraiser, in November 2012 and raised $22,784 after costs.
“At no stage did the accused attempt to stop the fundraising... She gave a small speech on the night thanking people for their support,” Molloy said. Family members who drove Barry to supposed medical appointments became suspicious after she claimed they had been cancelled or stated she was lost.
Molloy said Barry was interviewed by police in January and made full admissions. Barry had spent the money from the fundraiser on clothes, shoes and other items while expressing remorse for her lies.
Defence counsel Regena Sommers said her client had continued to lie because of the love, attention and sympathy she was receiving.