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Teacher who lied that she had cancer and surgeons removed her eye banned from classroom

Julianne Cox, told colleagues her right retina was removed and that she was undergoing chemotherapy

Joe Middleton
Thursday 23 March 2023 17:19 GMT
St Helena School in Colchester, Essex
St Helena School in Colchester, Essex (Google)

A teacher who lied about having cancer and falsely claimed that surgeons had removed her eye has been banned from the classroom indefinitely.

Julianne Cox, who worked at St Helena School, in Colchester, Essex, between 2014 and 2017, told colleagues her right retina had been surgically removed and that she was undergoing chemotherapy.

Ms Cox said her eye was replaced with a prosthetic eye and provided the school with a letter from the Neurology Department at Colchester Hospital.

She also requested specialist equipment, that was purchased by the school, in order to help with her “vision issues”.

Her ruse was spotted after the logo used on the letter from Colchester Hospital was one the that had not been used by the medical facility for months.

The hospital later confirmed that the letter was not sent by the neurology department and that it was opening an investigation as the communication fraudulently misrepresented a clinician.

When confronted about the letter at a meeting Ms Cox denied she was the one who wrote it but “had no credible explanation for the inconsistencies within the letter.”

However, she agreed to provide consent for her medical details to be shared between the school and the hospital.

Weeks later Ms Cox was placed on medical suspension as the school was unable to understand her medical condition due to the lack of information provided.

On the same day of her suspension Ms Cox phoned the hospital to say the signature on her medical consent form had been forged by the school.

An investigation was opened and Ms Cox resigned immediately.

In March 2017 she started working at another school, The Bridge Academy in Hackney, east London - despite still being employed at St Helena School.

Essex Police later launched a fraud investigation into Ms Cox.

The panel said it had “serious concerns” about her evidence, including about the validity of the PhD qualification she claimed to have.

Ms Cox said she completed her PhD at Cavendish College, Cambridge, but was not able to provide an explanation when it was put to her that the college has not existed since 1892.

Giving oral evidence at her professional conduct panel, Ms Cox admitted that she had never had eye surgery and had never undergone chemotherapy.

The panel has prohibited her indefinitely from teaching in any school, sixth form college, youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

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