Wednesday 21 March 2018

Student (22) faked cancer to wreck her lecturer's life

Elisa Bianco, 22, conned lecturer Sally Retallack
Elisa Bianco, 22, conned lecturer Sally Retallack

Lexi Finnigan London

A "heartless" student who ruined her female lecturer's life by faking terminal cancer before conning her until she lost her marriage, home and job, has been jailed for two years.

Elisa Bianco (22) conned Sally Retallack (49) into believing she was about to die, caused an irreparable rift with her husband, Ralph, and then posed as a man to seduce her online.

Bianco met the mother-of-four on a college course and convinced her to let her move into her home by pretending she had only three months to live and had been abused by her parents, Truro Crown Court in England heard.

The student faked a terminal kidney tumour and Mrs Retallack helped Bianco fulfil a 'bucket list' - which included expensive gifts, trips and a 'goodbye' party for friends to say farewell before she died.

Bianco would be dropped off at hospital every day but would then sit in a café in her pyjamas and dress herself in fake bandages. She even pretended she had her kidney removed.

"Very gradually throughout the period that Elisa was in my life, she manipulated her way daily more deeply by lying, acting, and 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."

But her lies were exposed when Mrs Retallack, who gave up work to nurse her 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.

Bianco, from Fowey, Cornwall, pleaded guilty to stalking causing serious alarm or distress on Friday and was jailed for two years and eight months.

The court heard how Bianco became an 'uninvited cuckoo' in the Retallack home and used mind games to drive a wedge between Sally and her husband - which eventually saw them split.

Bianco then set Sally up with a 'recently widowed' consultant physician called John - who was actually her, using a 'husky' voice and a fake email address.

Sally and 'John' became close and exchanged intimate emails but Bianco then invented a cancer diagnosis for the internet lover and killed him off before they could meet.

Judge Christopher Harvey Clark said: "It is the most extraordinary case I have had to deal with in a long time.

"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." Sally Retallack's life has been left in tatters and she has now moved to France, the court heard.

Bianco was just 16 when she met Sally after she enrolled on a college course at St Austell College in Cornwall in 2009. Her course was taught by the health and social care tutor.

Over the next few years she made up various lies about her parents being alcoholics and eventually was invited to stay at the Retallack family home, even sleeping in Mrs Retallack's bed so Sally could care for her 24 hours a day.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News