Did she fake cancer for cash

JOHN Heagney is a broken man.

The woman he once loved and planned to marry, Elizabeth ‘‘Elle’’ Edmunds, pictured, is facing police allegations that she faked having terminal cancer to attract donations.

Mr Heagney, of Cardiff, was engaged to Ms Edmunds, who failed to appear in Belmont Court on Wednesday to face fraud charges.

‘‘All she wanted to do was get married before she died,’’ Mr Heagney said. ‘‘We planned our wedding and her funeral at the same time.’’

They discussed details like ‘‘the songs she wanted at the funeral and the kind of flowers she wanted’’.

With despair and sadness in his eyes, Mr Heagney said outside court that he was devastated by the matter.

‘‘It’s just wrecked my life,’’ he said.

‘‘I go to a psychologist fortnightly and a GP weekly.’’

Mr Heagney, below, said he did not know about the allegations against Ms Edmunds until told by authorities. Until then, he had no reason to believe her  illness was not real.

‘‘She was in bed for virtually seven months,’’ Mr Heagney  said.

‘‘I looked after her to the best of my ability.’’

Elizabeth ‘‘Elle’’ Edmunds having her head shaved.

Mr Heagney said she was ‘‘constantly sick, vomiting, losing weight, really white, black around the eyes and her hair started falling out’’.

‘‘She ended up shaving her head,’’ he said.

He suspects now this was because of the chemotherapy tablets she was taking, which she had allegedly ordered online.

Ms Edmunds, 31, faces two counts of obtaining a financial benefit by deception.

Police allege Ms Edmunds, of Belmont, raised $1815 online by ‘‘falsely claiming to have cancer’’ last year, court documents said.

It was further alleged that she dishonestly obtained $500 from a ‘‘wish’’ foundation.

Ms Edmunds told  Women’s Day last November that she could not explain why she allegedly invented the cancer.

‘‘When they told me I didn’t have cancer, I didn’t believe them,’’ she said.

Ms Edmunds believed she had a breakdown and her actions were possibly connected to trauma from losing a newborn baby seven years earlier.

“I really thought I was dying,’’ she said.

‘‘I don’t know how my mind has done this to me.’’

She told the magazine she was deeply sorry for any hurt she may have caused and promised to make amends.

“I feel so bad for the people raising money,” she says. “I just want to pay everyone back and I promise I’m going to do that.”

Ms Edmunds and Mr Heagney met at a car show. 

She was a ‘‘pin-up model’’ in the rockabilly scene and he restored and showed American cars.

They became engaged.

Three months after they met, she told him she had ‘‘somatoform disorder’’ – a mental illness that caused bodily symptoms, including pain. ‘‘I had to push her round in a wheelchair for four months,’’ he said.

Mr Heagney said he no longer loved Ms Edmunds, but he had forgiven her.

He felt sorry for anyone who had given money to Ms Edmunds and hopes they get it back.

Mr Heagney’s friend Jade Stephens, of Cardiff, said ‘‘the whole family is distraught’’.

Ms Stephens had photographs of Ms Edmunds with a shaved head, alleging they were taken at a previous time when Ms Edmunds claimed she had leukaemia. 

In court on Wednesday, Ms Edmunds’ legal representative told the court that his client was not present. No plea was entered and the matter was adjourned until July 22.