School teacher who faked cancer to get sympathy from staff and pupils is banned from teaching for five years
A school teacher who created a web of lies about being terminally ill with non-Hodgkin lymphoma has been banned from teaching in classrooms for at least five years.
Nicola Hibberd, 44, from Nottingham pretended she had cancer for four years. During this time she produced fake letters from doctors and made up fictional medics to back up her claim, receiving sympathy from fellow staff members at Park Junior School in Shirebrook, parents and even the children she taught.
One letter, written from an imaginary Dr Richard Baxter, said the disease was in its final stages and immediate treatment was needed.
The teacher's scam was only exposed when head teacher Steve Hewitt-Richards realised content of a letter - supposedly written by her doctor - appeared to have been copied straight from the Macmillan Cancer website.
Ms Hubberd then quit her job and was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by a Teaching Agency panel. She has been given an indefinite ban from teaching but can apply for it to be lifted after five years.
In its report, the panel said: "It is clearly dishonest by any standard to produce false letters, refer to someone who does not exist and falsely claim to be attending hospital appointments. It is quite clearly not the sort of behaviour the public expects of a teacher."
The panel was not given any evidence or mitigation by Ms Hibberd, so it is not known what drove her to make up the claims.
Mum Kelly McDonnell, 37, whose son Toby, eight, goes to the school, said: "It's absolutely gob-smacking. I'm horrified and can't believe it."
Another parent, who did not want to be named, added: "It's just not the sort of thing that's done. If she's done that, she's not fit to be teaching."