A woman whose husband pretended to have cancer has said his years of lying “stole so much of my life”.
Lucy Witchard, of Leicester, said David Carroll, 35, told her he had leukaemia when they met in 2006 – they married in 2011 and have since divorced.
She said in 2015 her mother gave him £2,000 for treatment in the US after he said the cancer was terminal.
Carroll was given a suspended prison sentence for fraud at Leicester Magistrates’ Court last week.
During their four years of marriage, Carroll had also lied about having prostate and stomach cancer, but later admitted this, Ms Witchard said.
She told the BBC Carroll would not allow her to attend chemotherapy sessions in hospital and frequently said the leukaemia got better and worse.
“He would say, ‘I’m protecting you from this’ and I’d get too emotional being there,” she said.
“When I questioned his treatment he threatened to leave me saying our relationship could not work if I didn’t trust him.”
The family became suspicious while Carroll was in the US – enjoying a holiday rather than receiving cancer treatment.
The 31-year-old said she confronted him on his return but he went “ballistic” and tried to keep up the pretence.
“He even got a work friend to call me pretending to be his doctor,” she said.
“I knew after that phone call that our marriage was over.”
Ms Witchard said she still felt “incredibly hurt and angry”, as he “stole so much of my life”.
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Linda Eccles, Ms Witchard’s mother, said she was “heartbroken and devastated” by his “lies, deceit and selfishness”.
“I gave Dave £2,000 to travel to America to save his life,” she said.
“I had the money to help my daughter’s dying husband, prevent my daughter from becoming a widow.”
After Carroll’s marriage ended, he joined Leicester rugby club, Aylestone Athletic RFC in 2015.
During a game, he suffered an injury and was treated in hospital.
Former team-mate Jonathan Hunt told the BBC: “David told us later doctors discovered he had leukaemia from a blood test.
“We thought ‘poor guy’. It was unfortunate.
“We felt sorry for him and people regularly gave him free handouts of food and drink.”
Mr Hunt said Carroll, who had planned to run seven marathons in seven days, later told them he was also diagnosed with a heart condition and was due to have surgery.
“The club had organised two charity fundraising events to support David’s efforts as he was unable to complete the challenge himself,” Mr Hunt said.
“Before the fun run, he told members his condition was terminal and could get treatment in America.”
The 29-year-old said the club raised more than £2,000 for Barnardo’s – Carroll’s chosen charity for the 2016 London Marathon -“in his honour”.
Carroll, now living in Ruthin, Denbighshire, Wales, was given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, after being found guilty of fraud by false representation.
He was also told to complete 180 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £2,000 compensation.
A 12-month restraining order means he is not allowed to contact Ms Witchard or his mother-in-law Ms Eccles.