Guests at her 'final farewell' party wept as Elisa Bianco ate biscuits. But she wasn't really dying at all.


The teacher cancer faker Elisa Bianco manipulated and destroyed wasn’t the only victim of her lies.

Her half-sister, 28-year-old Katie, said she brought the HobNob biscuits her sibling craved after giving up her make-believe cancer treatment to what was purportedly her “farewell” birthday party.

Believing it was to be the 22-year-old’s final birthday, guests cried openly in front of Elisa as she ate her biscuits.

Katie said Elisa targeted her teacher, Sally Retallack, and her family “because they were such lovely people”.

“It was like living in a dream — it almost didn’t feel real. I wish I’d gone with my gut now,” she said, according to News Limited.

“That evening she told everyone she felt tired, so we went up and gave her presents.

“I mean, what do you get someone who’s dying?

“I ended up getting her HobNobs that she said she had been craving after the chemotherapy. It was just horrible. Me and Sally would just turn to each other and burst into tears.”

Katie said she was devastated when her half-sister disclosed her terminal diagnosis, a secret she asked her to keep from their father, which led to the breakdown of the relationship between Katie and her dad.

“She said she didn’t want him at the funeral. I didn’t question why. It was her dying wish. But not telling him has ruined my relationship with him, and we’ve cut ties because of her,” Katie said.


Just days after her fake farewell party, Elisa was apparently inspired to fight her fatal illness.

“She told me about a drug she’d found and it was going to cure her. But soon after, we found out it was all fake,” Katie said.

Mamamia previously reported:

Everyday Elisa Bianco’s friend and carer, Sally Retallack, would help Elisa get ready for her cancer treatment.

She would help Elisa dress, try to feed her something to sustain her then drive her to the local hospital. There Sally would wish Elisa well with her treatment for a growing tumor on her kidney and Elisa made her way into the hospital farewelling the woman who she had begun to call “Mum”.

Sally would feel despair watching Elisa suffer under the weight of her “terminal cancer diagnosis”.

Sally Retallack would help Elisa get ready for her cancer treatment. (Via Facebook)

Each day it was the same — Elisa, dressed in her pajamas, would make her way into the hospital, but she wouldn’t go to the renal ward for treatment.

Instead she would sit in a café in her pyjamas and dress herself in fake bandages while writing forged letters from her “doctors”.

Elisa Bianco didn’t actually have terminal cancer you see.

Elisa Bianco didn’t have any illness whatsoever.

What Elisa had done was forge a web of deceit and lies in which she had trapped Sally Retallack forcing Retallack to lose her marriage, home and her job.


Her life as she knew it, all because of Elisa’s lies.

But now, two-years later, Elisa Bianco, 22, has faced the consequences of her deceit, yesterday being jailed for two years for stalking and causing serious alarm or distress.

How they met

Elisa was just 16 when she first met Sally Retallack in 2009. Sally, now 49, was teaching a college health course that Elisa enrolled in.

The two, from Cornwall in the UK, became close after Elisa convinced Sally she was being mistreated by her mother and stepfather, pretending they were alcoholics. At one stage she pretended she had a black eye caused by her mother, prompting a sympathetic Sally to give her £50 and her address should she need somewhere to stay.

The day that Elisa needed Sally’s help wasn’t long off and she soon called on her teacher to take her in.

Sally, mother-of-four, took pity on Elisa after she learnt of the panic attacks and various complex illnesses Elisa claimed to have.

Prosecutor Philip Lee said, “It was only discovered much later that these were lies.

“She became increasingly demanding, and Mrs Retallack is sure, looking back, that the defendant had, by then, begun to target her as being a supporting person.”

Elisa’s deceptions increased

In 2012, Elisa arrived on Sally’s doorstep saying she needed a place to stay. After a while, Elsa invented emails from her parents which she sent to Sally and together they helped Elisa apply for university.


Sally and Elisa became so close during this time that Sally paid for Elisa’s university fees and began to take on a more maternal role in Elisa’s life.

The court heard that in late 2012, Elisa phoned Sally with the tragic news telling her she had another illness, this time cancer and she needed to have one of her kidney’s removed.

In February 2013, Elisa pretended to undergo a fake kidney removal and said she had a tumour on the other kidney.

Prosecutor Philip Lee said: “She said her condition was deteriorating — her cancer was malignant and growing — and eventually she told them she had three months to live and produced more forged letters and hospital forms to convince them.

“Mrs Retallack drove her every day to the hospital and dropped her off at the reception in her pyjamas with a day bag, and every evening one of them would collect her.”

Pretending she was in constant pain, Elisa started sleeping in Sally’s bed so Sally could care for her 24 hours a day.

The closeness of the two eventually had an affect on Sally’s marriage and during this time her husband decided he could not cope with the relationship between Elisa and Sally and he left.

Elisa pretended to be a man, named John and began a relationship with Sally

It was at this time that the deception got worse. Elisa convinced Sally to begin a relationship with a man, who she said was her consultant physician “John”, who she said had recently lost his wife.


In July 2013, Sally and “John” started emailing and their “friendship blossomed”. Using a husky voice and a fake email account, “John” was actually Elisa in disguise.

When they finally arranged to meet, “John” told Sally he had lung cancer and could not go through with the relationship.

Elisa convinced Sally to begin a relationship with a man, who she said was her consultant physician “John”.

The court heard that Elisa told Mrs Sally she wanted to die at home and Sally threw her a “final” birthday party in August 2013.

When Elisa threatened to take her own life, Sally insisted they drive to see “John”, but on the way Elisa read her a text.

Mr Lee said, “She showed her a text message supposedly from a nurse to the effect: ‘John’s heart is going to fail… don’t think he’s going to make it…’ then a further message: ‘gone’.”

The web of lies unravels

The intricate web of lies finally unravelled when Sally, who gave up work to nurse Elisa through her final days, tried to surprise her at the Royal Cornwall Hospital and discovered nobody on the renal ward had ever heard of her.

When she found her in the hospital café and asked her if it was a lie, Elisa answered simply “yes”.

When she found her in the hospital café and asked her if it was lies Elisa answered simply “yes”. (Via Facebook)

Sally then found receipts for dressings at her home and a device which ‘made the noise that she claimed was the sound of her ribs cracking’, reports The Telegraph.


Elisa pleaded guilty to stalking, causing serious alarm or distress.

Judge Christopher Harvey Clark QC said: “It is the most extraordinary case I have had to deal with in a long time,” reports The Guardian.

“Most chilling was the callous and cruel deception to create a fictitious hospital consultant. You heartlessly manipulated Mrs Retallack’s deepest emotions. No sentence will compensate her.”

“She manipulated her way daily more deeply into my life by lying.”

Sally has now moved to France to rebuild her life.

In court yesterday, Sally, who has now moved to France to rebuild her life, wept saying, “I was an outgoing, positive, career-minded individual who loved her job and developed a real pride and satisfaction nurturing the young people who would be in my care.

“I had a close, loving home life. My entire family had empathy for Elisa’s personal situation and welcomed her into our home.

“Now I have no career, no job, no husband, little self-confidence and have recently started to try and rebuild my life by moving to France.

“Very gradually throughout the period that Elsa was in my life, she manipulated her way daily more deeply into my life by lying, acting, increasing dependency by creating a fictional realm of both physical and emotional circumstances that subtly started to build barriers between myself and my friends and family.

“I truly believed she had no one else. I have to live with this guilt and the consequences forever.”