A British bridezilla took wedding planning to a new low by shaving her head and faking terminal cancer to dupe her friends into donating more than $11,000 for her dream event, according to a report.
“It’s gone to my brain, my bones – it’s everywhere,” Toni Standen, 29, who is unemployed, told local media in the elaborate hoax about the disease, the Mirror reported.
In an emotional plea, she said she wanted her 57-year-old dad Derek, who was actually suffering from cancer, to walk her down the aisle. He died before the big day but a video he recorded was played at the ceremony.
“After hearing her father’s labored words she got up and gave a faultless speech, even cracking a few jokes,” a guest told the news outlet.
“Her mother and brother were in bits. We’d all just listened to a father of the bride message from beyond the grave,” the guest added.
Everton FC, a local soccer club, also recorded a video with a top player delivering the team’s well-wishes to the couple, according to the Mirror.
“She laughed throughout,” the guest said.
After the wedding in Widnes, Cheshire, Standen and her new hubby, James, 52, went to a nearby hotel, where witnesses claimed she counted the cash they received before they heading off for a honeymoon in Turkey.
But her ruse was finally exposed when she later claimed to have contracted the coronavirus, which raised suspicions among her friends, the Mirror reported.
“She could have won an Oscar, her acting was that good. She fooled us all. We were all completely sucked in,” college friend Cheryl Aston, 33, told the paper. “She told me she was dying and I fell for it.”
The other-of-two added: “I remember her telling me that her cancer had come back and that it was terminal. She told me it had spread to her bones and her organs. I was devastated – everyone was.
“She said she wanted her dad to walk her down the aisle before either of them died. Everyone pulled together. People didn’t have much but they wanted to give what they could,” Aston said.
“I wanted to help so badly but I couldn’t afford a lot. I asked her about doing a fundraiser. She said, ‘Yeah, yeah, every little helps,’” she added.
Friends even launched a GoFundMe page to give the couple “a wedding they deserve.”
Standen began her ruse back in July 2017, when she told her local paper that she had cancer. In March 2019, she said in another interview that she was terminal, according to the report.
In January this year, he said she had two months to live as her organs had begun to fail.
And in February, her Facebook page actually said: “RIP TONI. Our lovely Toni passed away last night, surrounded by friends and family… strong until the end.”
Standen claimed hackers posted the announcement, but friends had other theories.
“She did it for attention – to see what people would say about her if she died,” one told the Mirror.
When she claimed to have COVID-19, her friends confronted her and she admitted it was all a big lie.
Last week, she pleaded guilty to false representation at Chester Magistrates Court, where Judge Nicholas Sanders slammed her for committing a “horrible breach of trust.”
Her penalty was not immediately available but she could be forced to repay the donations.
“If we get anything back, I’m going to donate it to a cancer charity. There needs to be some light at the end of this dark tale,” Aston said.