Court report by Suzanne Martin
A Broadstairs mum accused of faking cancer in order to dupe people into giving her money via a Gofundme campaign has made a series of confessions in the courtroom.
During her fraud trial at Canterbury Crown Court Nicole Elkabbas, 42, admitted lying to police, close friends and members of the public about having a cancer operation to “remove her right ovary”.
Yesterday (November 17) Ms Elkbbass told the court that no such operation had ever taken place in Spain or anywhere else.
The previous day during her defence Ms Elkabbas had continued to claim she had had treatment and at one point told the jury she had a “small scar” she “could show”.
But in a U-turn Ms Elkabbas told the court that she had” lied” during her police interview and as a consequence, she had also “lied” in her statement before the court.
After her arrest, Ms Elkabbas told the police she had received cancer treatment with Intraperitoneal Chemo, a form of targeted chemotherapy.
The defendant admitted that claim was a “lie”. A lie she repeated across social media and as part of her GoFundMe campaign.
Ms Elkabbas was asked about a series of similar claims she had made to members of a 18,000 strong, female facebook group called “The Latte Lounge .”
The defendant said: “Yes, it was dishonest” and “I lied and fabricated that about the IP Chemo.” Asked again if she agreed that she had lied about her cancer treatment the prosecution asked: “Do you agree that you lied?”
“Yes” she said.
Giving evidence about taking money from a mother in The Latte Lounge forum she said: “I thought it was sick what I had done” and “It is me who has done things wrong.”
The defendant described her gambling as a form of “self-harm” and said that she became ‘dissociative” when she gambled. Admitting to a ten-year-long gambling addiction, she said, her behaviour is ‘what addicts do”.
The court heard that Ms Elkabbas, had lied on multiple occasions. She “lied” to members of the public, her family, friends and supporters, some of whom said they had “identified with her” and had paid thousands of pounds to her cancer campaign.
The court heard that she had posted about a “first round of IP chemo”, she also told supportive women in the public posts and direct-messages that she was about to have a “second round of Ip Chemo”. Each time she appealed for money for cancer treatment and each time the defendant was given money.
The court heard on April 13, 2018, Ms Elkabbas posted an update to the forum, describing “progress so far so good” and saying “This week started my first week of IP Chemo”.
Prosecutor Ben Irwin asked Ms Elkabbas “why she lied.”
She said: ” I was ashamed I didn’t have surgery”.
Ms Elkabbas had also claimed to have the side effects of treatment. When asked if she had IP Chemo – she said “no.” When asked if she had her ovary removed, she said: “I lied about that.”
The defendant admitted she “had gone too far”, “because I hadn’t had second line chemo. It did not occur.”
The prosecution said Ms Elkabbas had presented evidence she was desperate for money to pay for treatment she genuinely needed but asked is she had spent “a penny on treatment” Ms Elkabbass admitted: “No, I did not”
The court heard Ms Elkabbas admit to sending out a “generic link to pretty much everyone” a round-robin update to “generate income”.
Ms Elkabbas said “Of course it was sick the way I done it” and “I did get carried away.” The court was told she repeated the lies across Facebook and updates to her Gofundme campaign.
The court also heard how Elkabbas had posted an image of herself on her bed, at home, and talked about her recovery in great detail.
Elkabbas posted updates on “her chemo”, “the side effects” and having “a second round of chemo.”
In court she admitted these were all lies. She said she was “ashamed she did not have the treatment.”
Ms Elkabbas also claimed she had taken multiple payments from a friend to “buy luxury watches” that her friend would “make a profit on”.
Ms Elkabbas said to the court she had ‘used the money to gamble.” She claimed she had then used money from the allegedly fake cancer campaign “to pay her friend back.”
Similarly, Elkabbas admitted paying thousands of pounds back to her brother, money she claims he had paid into “boost” the campaign but “could not afford.” She admitted she had repeated a series of lies and “fabricated” evidence of her cancer diagnosis to strangers to obtain money but added that “she might need it one day.”
The court heard that Ms Elkabbas wanted a drug Niparib, a cancer drug would have been available on the NHS, had she needed it, in June of 2018. Throughout this entire period, the court heard that Ms Elkabbas had “extensive private medical insurance”.
The trial so far has lasted more than a week and heard evidence from four hospital consultants; there has been no evidence presented of a cancer diagnosis.
Ms Elkabass maintains that she was diagnosed by a former friend, a man the prosecution says she is “willing to destroy (the) reputation” of to “save herself from the consequences.”
The court also heard that Ms Elkabbas had tried to keep an email between herself and the consultant from the court. In that email, she tells the consultant about her diagnosis and not the other way around.
Ms Elkabbass also maintains she received medication from a Dr Suarez in Spain but has no record of meeting him and attempts to locate Dr Suarez by both the defence and prosecution have been unsuccessful.
The Spanish register of doctors similar to the GMC has no record of the doctor.
Ms Elkabbas claims “Dr Suarez” blocked her and disappeared.
The court heard early in the trial that the hospital where Ms Elkabbas claims to have received treatment, ‘has no record of her.” Similarly the doctors she claimed to be in “the hands of” did not know and had not treated her. The court has also been told there is no record of any money paid for cancer treatment within the defendant’s financial statements but she had spent money on a trip to Rome with her lover and paid for a box at Tottenham for his family.
The defendant admitted that she had not met the Doctors listed on her GoFundMe Page and nor had she met or spoken with the UK based doctors she had alleged to have taken advice from as part of her campaign.
Ms Elkabbass, of Edge End Road, denies two counts of fraud relating to money she received between February and August, 2018.
The jury in the case is expected to be sent out to reach a verdict today (November 18).
As frauds go, the amount is quite small. It is the deceit to the generosity donors that this woman has betrayed.
Therefore, she should be made to pay every penny back, serve her sentence, then be deported.
My thoughts only….