This fraud trial is the one Belle Gibson should have had.

‘‘All she wanted to do was get married before she died,’’ John Heagney said. ‘‘We planned our wedding and her funeral at the same time.’’

John fell for Elizabeth “Elle” Edmunds fast. But within months, he was doing the unthinkable: “We were picking out the songs she wanted at the funeral and the kind of flowers she wanted”.

His fiancée, Elle, was desperately sick. He was caring for her every day, pushing her in a wheelchair. “She was in bed for seven months, her hair started falling out.”

But Elle Edmonds didn’t have cancer. John now believes that she was dosing herself with chemotherapy drugs that she bought online.

Elizabeth ‘Elle’ Edmunds. Image via Facebook.


This week, Elle’s lawyers appeared in court to respond to fraud charges laid by New South Wales police. Police have charged Elle with “obtaining financial advantage by deception”.

Last year, Elizabeth “Elle” Edmunds, 31, allegedly told people she had ovarian cancer (which later spread to her lungs). She shaved her head and set up a fundraising page. The mother of six apparently told family and friends that her cancer was untreatable and that she had been given three years to live.

Read more about it here: A vile scam exposed after a mother of 6 pretends to be dying of ovarian cancer.

She posted regular updates to thousands of followers on the “Help For Elle” Facebook page, many of whom donated generously. Through her own fundraising efforts and those of others she allegedly raised the grand sum of $2500 ($1780 was raised through a crowd-funding website, while another woman raised $800 through a charity walk).


Her deception fell through last October when someone became suspicious and reported her to police.


At an earlier court appearance, the judge made disparaging remarks about Elle’s reliability as a witness, but she has alleged that her fiancé knew about the deception. “He was in on it just as much as me. He was the one who instigated it. It was his documentation, doctors. It was his plan. I went through with it because I was in fear,” she said.

Edmonds spoke to the Women’s Day, saying she couldn’t explain why she invented the cancer. She thought perhaps that she had a breakdown brought on by the trauma of losing a newborn baby, seven years earlier.

She told the Woman’s Day that she was very sorry: “I feel so bad for the people raising money. I just want to pay everyone back and I promise I’m going to do that. I plan to make contact with each and every person who gave me money and make this right.”

Elle Edmunds outside of court earlier this year.


Elle Edmunds and Belle Gibson both faked their cancer. But only one of them is facing justice.

During the course of this court case, Elle’s lies have been exposed and her victims have had the chance to have their say. It is painful for everyone involved, but there is a chance that Elle’s victims may receive some sense of closure.


But this same sense of closure and justice isn’t available to the victims of Belle Gibson’s deception.

Belle Gibson also pretended to have cancer.  Gibson earned a lot more from her deception than Elle Edmunds (who only allegedly cracked $2500). Belle’s ‘victims’ are certainly more numerous. And while Woman’s Day reports that Edmunds has undertaken to repay her donations, Gibson certainly hasn’t given that indication. While Elle has apologised, Belle hasn’t seemed interested in doing the same.

Belle Gibson with her book ‘The Whole Pantry’.

Belle Gibson raised money in the name of charities – and The Age revealed that four of the five charities listed in her company’s promotional material had no knowledge of the appeals. She ran at least two fundraising drives and soliciting cash donations from a following of 200,000 people.

Yet the Victorian Police have refused to charge Belle Gibson with similar fraud offences to those faced by Elle Edmunds. She will, it seems. not face the justice that our legal system can provide.

Elle Edmunds didn’t attend court this week, but her former fiancé was outspoken outside the court, saying that this deception has “wrecked [his] life”: “I go to a psychologist fortnightly and a GP weekly.’’

Presumably Belle Gibson’s victims also feel that same sense of devastation at being duped and robbed. But Belle’s victims will not get their day in court. They will continue to suffer without resolution – and without justice.

More on Belle Gibson:

‘My cancer was a lie’ admits Belle Gibson.

“What a load of rubbish.” Belle Gibson’s mother speaks for the first time.

Munchausen by Internet and Belle Gibson: the rise of faking it online.