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Dying child' scam disgusts regulars

PUBLISHED: 13:19 13 May 2010 | UPDATED: 09:54 12 August 2010

FORMER friends of a barmaid who conned hundreds of pounds out of punters after pretending she had a sick child, who then died, have branded her disgusting .

FORMER friends of a barmaid who conned hundreds of pounds out of punters after pretending she had a sick child, who then died, have branded her 'disgusting'.

Katie Wolff, 20, of Claremont Close, Orpington, said her 'daughter' had been diagnosed with leukaemia and was undergoing treatment at Great Ormond Street but that she died on February 8 this year.

Jamie Newman (pictured), landlord of the George and Dragon pub in Downe where she worked, arranged a charity evening to coincide with St Patrick's Day on March 17 where several customers shaved their beards to raise money. Wolff, who pretended to be devastated, was given £558 in proceeds.

But the truth came out after several people who had gone to school with her said she never had a child and was using pictures of a friend's baby to con people.

Wolff was given a community sentence at Bromley Magistrates' Court last Friday where she pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and was handed a 180-hour community sentence and told to repay the donation.

Mr Newman, 55, said: "It is disgusting. I don't know what sort of a person could do this. My wife grew suspicious of her when she cuddled her after saying her child had died. She said it didn't feel right, but how can you question someone who says their daughter has just died?

"She has to live what she has done and she has the biggest punishment of all in that she has lost her job and all her friends. She has ruined her own life."

Prosecuting Lily Riza said: "One day she said that her daughter had been diagnosed with leukaemia. She looked devastated and all the staff and customers were very supportive. She said her daughter was undergoing treatment at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. Then she said that her daughter had in fact died."

The grandmother of the child unemployed Wolff showed pictures of was in court last Friday to see her sentenced.

She said: "My daughter is definitely not her friend anymore, what she has done is disgusting."

Sentencing magistrate James Connor said: "This was a prolonged and deceitful act which was intended for your own financial gain. We have no doubt that it was premeditated and you used your working position to gain support and sympathy.

"Money was given in good faith for what you portrayed as a wholly distressing situation. We have taken into account your remorse, your early guilty plea and the fact that you have no previous convictions. Had you not entered an early guilty plea I have no doubt that we would have sentenced you to custody today.

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