A woman funded her “lavish and extravagant lifestyle” by scamming a couple with an ill young child out of more than £200,000.

Between January and May 2018, Haydee Daniel convinced the couple from Islington to send her the money while acting as a fake contact at Barclays bank.

The 55-year-old from Valley Road, Henley-on-Thames, had initially befriended the couple and told them she could get them cheap properties through a contact at the bank.

Acting as the fake contact, she then told the couple to send money to a bank account she had set up to prove that they had enough money to pay off the fictitious mortgage.

The couple was assured that money would be ring-fenced and then returned to them once the contact was satisfied that they would be financially able to pay back any loans.

In total, Daniel extracted a total of £230,496 from the couple, splashing the funds on luxury rentals or sending it to people she knew.

She was jailed for four and a half years on Thursday (October 26) at Wood Green Crown Court after a month-long trial.

The court heard that as part of her elaborate plan to scam the couple, Daniel had lied to them about having cancer, claiming that she only had 18 months to live.

She told the couple that she wanted to help them make a batter life for themselves before she died.

In reality, Daniel had been cured of cancer in the 1990s and was cancer-free.

Investigating officers were able to prove the fake bank contact was Daniel as their phone was only ever used in the vicinity of her home address.

WhatsApp messages exchanged between the victims and Daniel showed that the couple believed they would receive four properties after sending over money.

In a victim impact statement read out to court, the couple said that the loss of over £230,000 represented the theft of their security, aspirations for the future, and their child’s well-being.

They explained that the constant stress and anxiety caused by Daniel’s actions had affected every aspect of their life.

The victims were left destitute and heavily in debt to their family, who they had borrowed money from, believing it would be available again once the deal went through.

PC Evan Mcloughlin, from the Met’s Economic Crime Unit, said: The impact of this crime on the victims is absolutely shocking.

“Daniel masterminded a sophisticated and convincing investment fraud to take advantage of vulnerable victims on a large scale.

“The money was used to fund a lavish and extravagant lifestyle, showing complete contempt for the victims. Daniel felt no remorse for what she put the victims though.”