Gwent teacher said relative had cancer to get time off work
A GWENT teacher who lied about a relative having cancer to get time off work was today given six months in jail for two counts of fraud, to be served consecutively, suspended for two years.
Kelly Baker, 31, told her employers at Cwmcarn Primary School that her relative fell into a coma and had one of his legs amputated.
The judge trying the case said: "Anyone listening to the facts [would be] be wholly sickened."
Baker, of Vale View, Maesycwmmer, got a temporary position at the school in 2007.
In September 2008, she started full time as a planning, preparation and assessment teacher for years 1-6.
Prosecutor Steve Harmes told Cardiff Crown Court Baker started to take time off in January 2010, handing in what later transpired to be fake hospital certificates for injuries including a broken arm, fractured ribs and a broken hip.
In April 2010, she took a month off, citing family trauma as a relative had been taken ill.
In November 2011, Baker told the school the relative had an oncology appointment and later that month, she said he had lost the use of his legs before falling into a coma caused by a faulty ventilator starving him of oxygen.
In December, she said the relative regained consciousness, but was in a high dependency unit.
Headteacher at Cwmcarn, Gwyn Evans, travelled to the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, to take a card to Baker and was told she was not there.
In the days following his visit in December 2011, Baker said her relative had to be transferred to Spire Hospital in Cardiff and needed six months of rehabilitation.
A phone call to the hospital by Mr Evans revealed the relative was not being treated there and they had taken no transfer from the Princess of Wales.
Mr Evans visited her home address but she was not there, so he went to an address in Fleur de Lys which was on her job application.
This took him to David Pugh, Baker's ex partner, who told him they separated seven months earlier and the relative was perfectly well and had never been in hospital.
The names of doctors on the fake letters provided by Baker from the private hospital were consultants in plastic surgery and orthopaedics.
Baker was suspended on January 3 and sacked in May.
Defending, Vaughan Britton said Baker had problems she did not have the skills to deal with so created "a world of fantasy."
He said she has shown genuine remorse.
Baker pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud - one for providing a false reference in her mother's name on her job application and another for lying about her relative's health to get paid leave.
Judge William Gaskell said: "You alleged your relative was suffering from cancer and was under treatment - a complete fabrication. You went on to say he lost one of his legs - again, a complete fabrication.
"Anyone listening to the facts would regard your deceit as appalling and would cause anyone who hears about it to be wholly sickened."
Baker was given six months in jail for each count, to be served consecutively, suspended for two years.
She was also given an 18-month supervision order and must do 240 hours unpaid work.