Anna Bonner asked her best friend and bridesmaid for money for a sick friend’s cancer treatment but was secretly using the cash to support her own lifestyle
Image: Lynda Roughley)
A conniving mum has been jailed after she lied for years to with her best friend and bridesmaid out of £100,000.
Anna Bonner asked Susan Hughes for money for a sick friend’s cancer treatment. But it was being used to support her own lifestyle, a court heard.
The 40-year-old, of Liscard, Wallasey, even encouraged a crush Ms Hughes had on the man, getting her to write letters and send gifts which were actually being stolen by Bonner.
A judge at Liverpool Crown Court labeled the mum-of-three “greedy, devious and manipulative” as she jailed her for 28 months after she pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation.
Charlotte Atherton, prosecuting, said Bonner and Ms Hughes became friends in 1999 after meeting through their jobs at a care home.
They quickly formed a close bond, going on holidays together and living together for a period.
Bonner had Ms Hughes as chief bridesmaid at her wedding and the two regularly went on nights out.
It was one of these nights out that provided Bonner with the basis for a fraud which ended up lasting for years. The two women would frequently go to RJ’s, a club in New Brighton, and Ms Hughes would speak to a bouncer who she was romantically interested in.
But Bonner told her he was her uncle and, in 2015, told Ms Hughes that he had gone to prison. She asked Ms Hughes for some money to help him, which Ms Hughes provided.
Her lies snowballed as she later told her best friend the man had been diagnosed with testicular cancer and needed experimental treatment that could only be provided in the USA.
Ms Hughes began handing over money, sometimes up to £3,000 in a single month, to Bonner in the belief it was supporting the man’s medical treatment.
Bonner kept this money for herself, while also encouraging Ms Hughes to send letters, cards and gifts to the man. The court heard Bonner kept some of these herself.
When police started to investigate Bonner’s fraud, in 2020 they tried to contact the man – who Bonner called ‘Ste Lucas’ – but he was never found. Ms Hughes sent just over £117,000 to Bonner’s accounts from her during the five-year period her best friend from her duped her.
Ms Atherton said: “The defendant used pressure techniques, applying deadlines to the payments of funds and used emotional pressure to suggest Ms Hughes may have a future with Ste if she paid over the money.”
She said Ms Hughes had to leave her job as a mental health nurse as a result of what Bonner had done to her and was now in crippling debt. She has had to move back in with her parents de ella.
Trevor Parry-Jones, mitigating, said Bonner was remorseful and ashamed of what she had done but said probation officers struggled even now to figure out what exactly motivated her.
He appealed to the judge to hand Bonner a suspended sentence, as she had caring responsibilities. Bonner has a one-year-old child and a 15-year-old who is disabled.
Judge Louise Brandon told Bonner only a jail term was appropriate. She said: “This was a mean and nasty offense committed by a greedy, devious and manipulative woman. You have not repaid a penny and you have destroyed a friendship.
“It is regrettable that you did not consider the impact on them before you committed these offences.”