Shirebrook teacher faked deadly cancer to get sympathy

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THE headteacher of a school where a teacher faked life-threatening cancer has spoken of his pity after she was banned from the classroom.

Nicola Hibberd taught at Park Junior School at Shirebrook from 2006 to 2010 but told colleagues, parents and children that she was suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma in a bid for sympathy and support.

The 44-year-old, of Highfield Road, Bolsover, produced fraudulent letters from a cancer charity worker, made up hospital appointments, and even created a letter from a fictitious doctor saying her condition was in its final stages and ‘in need of prompt treatment’.

Headteacher Steve Hewitt-Richards found details from the bogus letter on a Macmillan Cancer website that he said appeared to be lifted straight from the site. Her deceit came to light after an investigation was launched, and she resigned in February 2010.

Speaking to Chad this week he said: “I do not feel angry, I just feel pity towards her and feel for the staff who supported her.

“We were all sad and very disappointed. We’re sad for her and her family and hope she gets the support she clearly needs.

“I did have my suspicions and had started to investigate, I had to live with my suspicions for some time and that was very stressful.”

Appearing before a Teaching Agency panel, she admitted the allegations but gave no reasons for her behaviour.

The panel banned her from teaching indefinitely, but said she can apply to have it lifted after five years.

The panel said: “Ms Hibberd’s actions constitute misconduct of a serious nature.”