Court report by Suzanne Martin
Broadstairs mother Nicole Elkabbass appeared at Canterbury Crown Court yesterday (November 10) for the opening of her fraud trial.
It is alleged that Ms Elkabbass, 41, “faked cancer” and that, in early, 2018 she set up a Go Fund Me campaign, to “deliberately defraud” members of the public who made donations.
Ben Irwin, for the prosecution, told the court the mum-of-one had “falsely claimed” that she had “life-threatening ovarian cancer”. It is further claimed that she benefited the “proceeds of crime”.
Members of the jury heard Prosecutor Ben Irwin claim that instead of “paying for life-saving cancer treatment” a condition “she did not have,” Ms Elkabbass spent £45,000 of the money raised to fund her “lavish lifestyle, international travel, paid historic debts and gambling”.
The jury was told that “not a penny” of the money raised “had been spent on cancer treatment”. By way of one example of the deception,it is claimed that in March 2018, within “hours of receiving funds from the owners of the GoFundMe platform, Ms Elkabbas had spent £3592 on expensive Tottenham Football club tickets”.
The court also heard that Ms Elkabbas had targeted a local business owner with her “lies” and he had handed over nearly £7,000 in three payments. During the hearing, before HH Justice Weekes, Ms Elkabbass repeatedly interrupted the proceedings, and at one point she called her former friend Mr Nicholas H Morris, ” a bastard”.
Mr Morris is the consultant Gynaecologist and Gynaecological Surgeon who Elkabbass claims diagnosed her with cancer in February 2018. Mr Morris repeatedly denied Ms Elkabbass’ claims that he had diagnosed her or that she had ever been his patient describing it as “pure fantasy”.
The court was shown emails, between Mr Morris and Ms Elkabbas, from January and February 2018, which appeared to show it was Ms Elkabbas who had informed Mr Morris of her cancer diagnosis and not the other way round as she had claimed.
Mr Morris said Ms Elkabbass “had never been” his patient, he had “never prescribed medication” to her and that she had “never visited his home or clinics” as a patient or otherwise. He added that he had “not” carried out any blood tests on Ms Elkabbas. Nor was the consultant aware of the drug, “Niraparib” which Ms Elkabass had claimed to need to treat the cancer.
He said that in any event, he was “not an oncologist” and “not licenced to prescribe cancer medication”.
In further emails presented to the court between Mr Morris and Ms Elkabbas, the defendant went into great detail, describing a positive cancer gene test and a “range of 1300” which the consultant advised, “would have led any consultant or doctor to believe the presence of malignancy.”
That claim was “a lie” the court was told. The court heard that in early 2017, Mr Morris had met Ms Elkabbas “through Facebook”, and they had struck up a “friendship over a shared charitable interest”. The court also heard that Ms Elkabbass had attended a fundraising dinner in London organised by Mr Morris, that she had “sold raffle tickets” and had been “helpful”.
A few months later, in August 2017, Mr Morris had been persuaded to “lend Ms Elkabbas and her family £36,000 for a business venture”. After some time and badgering, by Mr Morris, Ms Elkabbass’ family had repaid the debt and Mr Morris decided to “cut all communication” and ‘block her (Elkabbass’) mobile phone number”.
The £36,000 loan is not connected to the cancer treatment or the fraud case being heard before the court.
In spite of the apparent distancing by Mr Morris, following renewed contact in early 2018 he had been “worried about” and “concerned for” his former friend’s health. He had offered to recommend various trusted colleagues, but the court was told that upon doing so Ms Elkabbass became very “angry” with the suggestions, and she claimed to have spoken to multiple specialists and dismissed his help.
The consultant described her behaviour as “odd”. He also confirmed that Ms Elkabbas was “adamant” that she would travel to Spain for treatment.
Ms Elkabbas is expected to argue that she honestly believed she was suffering from ovarian cancer.
The case continues at Canterbury Crown Court.