Woman told strangers her toddler died in order to get cash

A WOMAN who told strangers her toddler had died in order to obtain cash just wants to be released from prison in order to see her children, the Maryborough Magistrates Court heard today.

During a two month spree Joanne Lee Marie Capewell told five different people, mostly pensioners, her child was dead or was severely ill in order to get cash to fuel her alcohol addiction.

She managed to obtain $370 from strangers in the two months.

Magistrate Dean Wilkinson described her behaviour as "totally unacceptable" especially as Capewell preyed on pensioners who were the "least able to afford to be paying you money".

Capewell pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud and received a six month prison sentence which was suspended for 12 months.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Kathryn Stagoll told the court in February and March, Capewell told a number of people in Maryborough, including pensioners her toddler had died and she needed money to travel to Brisbane to attend the autopsy.

On one occasion she told one woman her child was sick in hospital and in a third instance told a stranger her son had died.

Sgt Stagoll said the people targeted would not have given Capewell money if they had not sympathised with her story.

"The majority of the people she targeted can't afford to give money away willy-nilly," she said.

"It is dumbfounding the nature of offending."

Capewell, who represented herself in court, said at the time she had an alcohol addiction but she was now attending Alcoholic Anonymous meetings while in prison.

"I just want to get back home to my kids," she said.

"I am remorseful and I intend to make full restitution."

Capewell said she wanted to apologise but her victims were not in court to hear the apology.

As part of the suspended sentence Magistrate Wilkinson ordered Capewell pay $370 restitution within two months.

Capewell will remain in prison until November 29 where she is serving two months of a six month jail term for a similar offence.

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