Armstrong-obsessed PC jailed for cancer fakery
Officer used time off work 'sick' to run a cycling shop
A police officer who hero-worshipped Lance Armstrong faked his own cancer battle to “bring glory” to his life.
Michael John Matts took time off work with the supposed illness, and used it to persuade his girlfriend to marry him.
But while he was persuading friends to give him lifts to the hospital for chemotherapy, he was actually using his time off work to build up a cycle shop business.
At Leicester Crown Court, 34-year-old Matts was described as a Walter Mitty character who lied to everyone he knew about having cancer to grab the limelight. He was sent to jail for 12 months for a series of frauds and deceptions.
The court heard that Matts was obsessed with Armstrong, his fight against testicular cancer and his remarkable, multiple Tour-winning comeback.
Matthew Lowe, prosecuting, said Matts joined Leicestershire Police in 2001, telling colleagues he was a cancer-sufferer in remission and Armstrong was his inspiration.
He said Matts appeared to have used his hero's cancer as "a template" to copy the symptoms and treatment, telling lies about his illness and treatment and, claiming to need daily blood tests and regular MRI scans.
Matts also claimed to have represented Great Britain at cycling and toured France and Spain by bike, but the truth was somewhat different. He had cycled in his youth, but not at any professional or semi-pro level.
The court heard he set up a cycle shop and told his employee he was an ex-professional cyclist in remission from cancer.
He also offered to sponsor an 18-strong professional Belgian cycle team with six paid staff. He faked documents to show his wealth and left two Belgian businessmen with £500,000 debts.
Attempts by the firm's bosses to contact him to discuss it were met with excuses about his cancer.
Now, Matts has been divorced by his 30-year-old wife Emma, who is refusing to let him see his two children, aged one-and-a-half and three.
His ex-wife’s father, John Heighton, said: "He's a conniving cheating liar and a sick fantasist. He's put my family through hell.
"You don't doubt people until you have a reason to, but virtually everything he told us was a sham. At his wedding he even fooled my wife, who's a nurse.
"The wedding, to our daughter, had to be brought forward because of his so-called cancer. During the wedding meal he kept leaving, saying he was going to throw up, because of the illness.
“When he was arrested our daughter arrived home to see the police there and initially feared they were going to break the news he'd died from his illness.
"It's only in court we've discovered the full extent of what he's done."