A bride pretended she had terminal cancer to con her friends into paying more than $15,000 for her dream wedding.
Toni Standen, 29, shaved her head, spoke to the press and said of the disease: “It’s gone to my brain, my bones – it’s everywhere.”
She tugged at heart strings by saying she wanted her dad Derek, who was dying of cancer, to walk her down the aisle.
Friends launched a GoFundMe page to give Standen and partner James “a wedding they deserve,” The Mirror reports.
Standen’s dad Derek, 57, died before the big day but a video he recorded was played.
One guest told the Mirror: “After hearing her father’s laboured words she got up and gave a faultless speech, even cracking a few jokes.
“Her mother and brother were in bits. We’d all just listened to a father of the bride message from beyond the grave.
“Toni even received a video message from Everton FC, delivered by one of the top players. She laughed throughout.”
After the wedding in Widnes, Cheshire, Standen and James, 52, went to a nearby hotel. Witnesses claim she rifled through wedding cards, counting the cash inside, before jetting off to Turkey for her honeymoon.
Standen’s lies were later exposed when she claimed to have coronavirus, raising suspicions among pals.
Cheryl Aston, 33, who donated $947, said: “She could have won an Oscar, her acting was that good. She fooled us all. We were all completely sucked in.
“She told me she was dying and I fell for it.”
Mum-of-two Cheryl, who was at the wedding, added: “I remember her telling me that her cancer had come back and that it was terminal.
“She told me it had spread to her bones and her organs. I was devastated – everyone was.
“She said she wanted her dad to walk her down the aisle before either of them died. I wanted to help so badly but I couldn’t afford a lot. I asked her about doing a fundraiser. She said, ‘Yeah, yeah, every little helps’.”
WEB OF LIES
In July 2017, Standen was interviewed in her local paper saying she had cancer.
She gave a second interview last year, telling of the “devastating” news her illness was terminal.
In January this year, Standen went as far to say she had two months to live and her organs had started to fail.
And in February, a post on her Facebook page – which she later blamed on hackers said: “RIP TONI. Our lovely Toni passed away last night, surrounded by friends and family … strong until the end.”
Two friends eventually decided to question her.
One said: “We rang her for a three-way conversation and recorded it. We asked her straight: ‘Have you really got cancer?’
“She started crying and admitted it was all lies. We ended the call and phoned the police straight away.”
Jobless Standen pleaded guilty last week to fraud by false representation between February 2019 and April 2020 and she could now face jail for her actions.
District judge Nicholas Sanders said she committed a “horrible breach of trust”.
A judge can order Standen to repay the donations.
Care worker Cheryl said: “If we get anything back, I’m going to donate it to a cancer charity. There needs to be some light at the end of this dark tale.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission