Mother who shaved son's head in cancer scam jailed

A mother who shaved her son's head and eyebrows to pretend he had cancer in an £85,000 benefit scam has been jailed for three years and nine months.

Emma La Garde, from Gloucestershire, forged doctors' notes and made it look as though her son was taking medication for cancer. She sent him to school in a wheelchair, where he was unable to play and became the "butt of jokes".

She fraudulently claimed £85,899 in benefits and used some of the money to take her children to Florida, where she made the boy sit in the wheelchair so they could jump queues. La Garde was also given a car.

She claimed he was suffering from autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome and later lymphoma – a type of cancer.

She kept up the fraud for three years while the boy was aged between six and eight, but was found out when his father became suspicious and went to his GP. She admitted child cruelty, fraud and forgery at Gloucester Crown Court.