A WOMAN who stole the identity of a terminally-ill cancer patient to get treatment she did not need for the second time and put a ‘do not resuscitate’ order on another patient’s file has escaped jail again, The Sun reports. Cassandra Grant, 37, pretended to be a doctor to convince NHS staff that a cancer patient was returning to the UK from New Zealand to die.
She then posed as the patient – a former friend called Clare Arrowsmith – and received care at home and in hospital before staff realised she was a fraudster. Grant even arranged for a “Do Not Resuscitate” mark to be put on the file of Ms Arrowsmith, who she had previously admitted posing as in 2013 to get a job as a pharmacist.
She also posed as a second terminally-ill woman, Huleya Aleve, to try and get treatment at a doctors surgery but staff got suspicious and care wasn’t given. The double fraud was the second time Grant has been in court for pretending to have cancer in order to receive hospital treatment for attention. In 2014 she was given a suspended sentence for befriending real cancer sufferers online, stealing their identities, and changing their appointments to get £11,500 of treatment.
Grant – who suffers from psychiatric condition Munchausen’s syndrome – admitted three counts of fraud on Monday. But despite her repeated offending she escaped prison with a 12 month jail term, suspended for two years. Judge Euan Ambrose told her: “Medical professionals do a difficult job, and they do it with skill and care, and that care that they gave to you was given freely but ultimately as a result of a deception.
“It is not difficult to see how upsetting that would have been for those who you deceived.” Bristol Crown Court heard how Grant posed as Clare Arrowsmith and staff at St George Health Centre in Bristol cared for her at home. She then received cancer care in Frenchay Hospital in March 2014, but staff there realised she was a fraudster.
The judge said the fraud was particularly concerning as Grant arranged for a “Do Not Resuscitate” marker on Ms Arrowsmith’s file. Mark Worsley, prosecuting, said around the same time Grant posed as terminally ill Huleya Aleve to try and get treatment at Lodge Side Surgery in Bristol.
Five months later Grant joined a Facebook and told users she had terminal cancer and was raising money for charity St Peter’s Hospice. She was sent home-made greetings cards by a well-wisher to sell. Defending, Fiona Elder said her client had ‘factitious disorder’ and needed to continue with treatment for her complex mental health.
The condition known as Munchausen’s syndrome sees people pretend to be ill or induce symptoms in order for other people to care for them and make them the centre of attention. Grant, from Coombe Dingle, Bristol, was ordered to pay North Bristol Trust £372 compensation and £30 to the sender of greetings cards
She was also fined £50 for breaching a previously suspended sentence. In June 2014, Grant was in court after she claimed to be suffering from incurable cancers to check into hospitals across the UK to receive life-saving treatment. A year previously she used Facebook to contact a woman called Carly Groombridge who had terminal bowel cancer.
Grant told her she was receiving the same treatment and the pair became good friends and often confided their fears in each other. But Grant rang up Bristol Royal Infirmary pretending to be her new friend to change an appointment for a scan she was due to have. She then used the information she had gained to admit herself to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, Somerset where she was given £4,853 worth of treatment.
Staff became suspicious when the real Ms Groombridge came for care, and after ringing her GP staff realised Grant had used the same identity to admit herself to another hospital. Grant was arrested but while on bail used Ms Arrowsmith’s identity to obtain a job as a locum pharmacist in Filton, Bristol, and dispensed prescriptions for a day.
Grant also admitted she used the identity of another Facebook friend, cystic fibrosis sufferer Louise Lett, to claim £5,500 worth of treatment. After the first case, also at Bristol Crown Court, she was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years