Holly Willoughby baffled as bride-to-be reveals best friend cost her £50k with bizarre fake job scam
5 February 2020, 11:00 | Updated: 5 February 2020, 11:08
Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield spoke to a woman who lost her wedding when her best friend lied to her.
Today's This Morning featured a bizarre story about a woman who lost £50k after her best friend convinced her to quit her job.
Speaking to hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, Kimberley Baker said her former pal Helen Dove fooled her into thinking she had landed a dream role in children's services at Warrington Council.
When Helen said she was an adoption worker and there was a role opening up alongside her, Kimberley, 43, excitedly filled in online applications and was told she had bagged the job.
But following seven months of delays and fake paperwork, it was revealed Kimberley was the victim of a bizarre con that left her £50,000 out of pocket - and nobody understands why.
It turns out Helen had created an elaborate web of lies and pretended to be 15 people in various roles at either Warrington Council or education watchdog Ofsted.
Kimberley was even forced to take some part time work, as no job materialised and she and her fiancé Phillip were struggling for cash.
Talking to Holly and Phil about her ordeal, the mother-of-three, who also has two stepchildren, said Helen ‘became a part of the family’, and was even asked to be chief bridesmaid.
She said: “She came to all the venues with us, it was nine months into our friendship.
“When we were struggling financially, she was in the room when we had to tell our children that Father Christmas wouldn’t be able to be as generous this year.”
Eventually, the couple got in touch with the council and were told that Helen had never had a job there and they had no record of her whatsoever.
Phillip revealed: “When we found out, it was like the whole world had swallowed us up.
“I confronted her, I said to her ‘Hi Helen, how long did it take you to produce these bank statements?’ and when she asked what I was talking about, I said: “The fraud, how long did it take you?’”
The scam cost the couple their wedding, which was due to take place at Houghwood Golf Club in June 2019.
As Holly looked stunned, she asked why the family thought Helen had done this when she didn’t get any financial gain.
Kimberley explained: “She was very controlling, she knew what we were doing all the time, she was coming to meals with us, coming for coffee.”
Phillip then added: “I think she wanted what we had, happiness, a family unit, she was someone who wanted to be part of something.”
In court, Helen admitted two counts of fraud by false representation and was jailed for two years and eight months.
Judge Robert Warnock said a psychological assessment revealed no significant mental health issues.
The judge said: "You went to extraordinary lengths to perpetrate this complex, cruel and harmful deception."
"I do not have a clear understanding as to why you behaved in this way and for such a long period.
"You have no previous convictions. You are intelligent and have academic qualifications.
"I simply do not accept that explanation as it does not begin to address your actions after it became obvious what effect your lies and deception were having on your victim."