'I don't sleep': Police release interview with Lyne Barlow who faked cancer in holiday scam

Lyne Barlow told police she "did not sleep" because of what she had done to people. Credit: Durham Police

A fraudster who pretended to have cancer while conning people out of holidays told police she has hoped to pay people back and had been buying "thousands" of pounds worth of lottery tickets.

Lyne Barlow, who was jailed for nine years after admitting to frauds relating to loans, investments and holiday sales, and a money-laundering charge, also told police she had suffered for what she had done.

Police interviews with the 39-year-old, formerly of Stanley, in County Durham, have been released following a court hearing on Friday 3 February.

Inquiries found she was operating a Ponzi-style scheme, taking money from new victims to pay for existing bookings, or using money she had borrowed from friends and relatives.

Barlow, who had previously worked as a travel agent, would just use the same websites that could be accessed by any member of the public, but discounted the price to make it look attractive.

Some holidays were simply not booked – with victims finding out when they arrived at the airport.

Some victims were promised booking details that never appeared, despite repeated requests.

And to deflect inquiries, she claimed to be undergoing treatment for cancer, even telling one customer it was “stage 3/4” and “it’s in my bones”.

In an interview, Barlow told officers she was unable to sleep because of what she had done.

She said: "This is what I'm talking about, what I've done to all those people. It's horrendous. I literally do not sleep.

"I have to suffer for what I've done to people."

Barlow had used a walking stick and covered her hair with a headscarf to convince people she had cancer.

When asked about it by police, she said she had done it to stop people from threatening her.

She told officers: "When people were threatening us and stuff I would use it for like 'please don't hurt us, I'm not very well'."

In the interviews she also admitted taking her mother's money and spending it all.

She stole £520,000 from her mother – following the death of her father in 2015 – after stealing her financial identity, raiding her bank account and covering her tracks by diverting the 64-year-old’s mail.

She also told officers she had been trying to get money back and intended to pay people.

She said: "At some point I would be buying lottery tickets because I was trying to get money back."

Barlow told officers she did not know how much she had spent on lottery tickets but admitted it was "probably" thousands.

She added later: "It's stupid I know it's stupid. I still intended to pay everyone back."

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