Attention Seeker! Woman poses to be terminally ill to get attention

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Cassandra Grant


Shocking photographs taken inside a hospital show a crazed fantasist hooked-up to life-saving machines as she lied about having cancer because she craved attention.

Cassandra Grant posed as terminally ill friend Clare Arrowsmith to receive care at home and in hospital before staff realised she was a fraudster.

The 37-year-old - who was perfectly healthy - also posed as a second dying woman, Huleya Aleve, to try and get treatment at a doctors surgery.

In that instance staff got suspicious and care wasn't given.

However, photographs of her in hospital in Bristol show the extreme lengths she went to to satisfy her desperate need for attention.

Grant can be seen attached to several different machines and with medical lines attached to her body and even in her mouth lying in a bed after duping ward staff.

Bristol Crown Court heard how Grant posed as Clare Arrowsmith, a former friend who was dying from the disease.

Staff at St George Health Centre in Bristol then initially cared for her at home before she received care in Frenchay Hospital in March 2014.

She then posed as a doctor and 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.

Staff there eventually realised she was a fraudster and booted her out.

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.

She was given a a suspended sentence in 2014 after she befriended real cancer sufferers online, stole their identities, and changed their appointments to get £11,500 of treatment she did not need.

Grant - who suffers from psychiatric condition Munchausen's syndrome - admitted three counts of fraud on Monday.

She was given 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.'

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.

Suspicions were aroused and care arranged was not given, he said.

Five months later Grant joined 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 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.

Grandmother Frankie Leeland, from Yateley, Hampshire, was the victim of the third fraud which was dealt with on Monday.

She sent Grant home made greeting cards after the fraudster posted on a Facebook group claiming to have terminal bowel cancer in September 2014.

The grandmother-of-two handmade the cards, which she was told by Grant were for a coffee morning to raise money from St Peter's Hospice in Bristol.

But she became suspicious after a friend spotted a drawing Grant apparently said she had done, actually belonged to another artist.

The determined mother-of-two claimed to have spent hours tracking down Grant and taking screenshots.

Mrs Leeland said she is disappointed with the judge for not jailing Grant - and is certain she'll lie again.

Mrs Leeland said: 'I reckon we spent about 5,000 to 6,000 hours tracking Cass - and I am not exaggerating.

'The sentence she has been given is a joke. We had hard evidence.

'We could see through her, the police could see through her - so how come the judge couldn't? It's like being let down by the judge after all we did. We managed to get enough evidence fro the CPS to prosecute Cass.

'We got the evidence. I emailed it all to the investigating officer who was astonished at all we had.

'We knew that Cass knew exactly what she was doing and so did the police. It appears the judge didn't

'We all think it won't be long before she starts conning people.

'Last time it was only weeks after she was given a suspended sentence before she started conning people - and it could have even been sooner.

'She uses her Münchhausen as an excuse for all her crimes - even if it has nothing to do with her fraud.

'Her Facebook fraud was nothing to do with her Münchhausens, but she uses that so that she won't be given a custodial sentence, as she has just done.

'She is laughing at the judge and making a mockery of the justice system.'


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