A heroin addict has been convicted of conning her own parents out of £250,000 by telling them she was studying for a DPhil at Oxford.

Nicola Boardman, now 34, has been lying to her parents Frank and Marilyn for four years about fictitious research and living expenses supposedly incurred while studying for a degree in Social Sciences at Oxford.

Rather than putting it towards academic study, she spent the money on heroin, lavish holidays, and a £10,000 wedding ceremony in London to which her parents were not invited. She pled guilty to fraud on April 20 at the Truro Crown Court in Cornwall, and was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.

In his statement to the court, her father Frank said, “I personally have been deprived of my retirement that I have worked hard for, for the last 40 years.”

Indeed, the parents sold their home after their daughter promised that her expensive pretense of research would yield a three million pound payout when it was finished, an unusually high sum for academic work.

Boardman went so far as to tell her parents that she’d had a stillborn child, when in fact she’d chosen to abort it, and held a fake ash-scattering for the baby. She eventually revealed to her parents that she had relapsed into her teenage heroin addiction, but continued to conceal part of her other uses for their money.

This deception apparently began shortly after Boardman graduated from Camborne College, part of Plymouth University, with a first class degree in Social Sciences.

After graduation she told her parents that she wanted to continue into graduate study, and convinced her father to drive her to both Oxford and Cambridge for interviews, though in fact she had applied to neither university.

Boardman then told her parents that she had been accepted to both, but chose Oxford. This deceit lasted for over four years, during which Nicola Boardman forged email correspondence with academics and evidence of her research in what the judge described as a “prolonged” and “sophisticated” operation.

Rose Atkinson, a Physicist at Keble told Cherwell , “I’m actually at Oxford and my parents won’t give me 250k!”

Dan Mangles, an engineer at Keble, told Cherwell he believed “that the parents were easily deceived, and that the daughter put up an incredibly effective (and probably emotionally draining) deception.

Given that the daughter apparently had a really broken relationship with them, I think it was incredibly careless of them to trust her with the money when they didn’t have any real trust emotionally.”

Others were more impressed by Boardman’s thoroughness – Ben Steward, a historian at Lincoln told Cherwell, “It must surely have been quite a comprehensive effort even to give [her] some chance of succeeding in their deceit, as it’s no trivial matter to lie about!”

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