A teaching assistant who faked terminal brain cancer to con her colleagues out of £20,000 has been jailed for 18 months.

Mum-of four Ursula Rose of Westgate Road, South Norwood, told sympathetic colleagues at St Thomas Becket School, she had terminal brain tumours and needed the money to pay for treatment.

The 42-year-old said one tumour was wrapped around an artery in her temple and could kill her at any time.

A jury took just one hour and six minutes to convict her of four counts of fraud at the end of her trial in February.

She was jailed this morning for 18 months.

The judge said Rose used her "effervescent personality to deceive those who admired and trusted you" and that this was a "calculated and wicked fraud"

Previously, Croydon Crown Court heard Rose asked fellow teaching assistant Gillian Trype for £3,000, claiming she did not want to leave her husband struggling to pay the mortgage if she died during an operation to have the tumour removed.

She told another colleague Alison Patmore, she needed a £6,500 deposit for a private operation that wasn't available on the NHS, and would cost a total of £40,000.

Mrs Patmore took a loan out for £6,200 on behalf of Rose on the belief she would pay the monthly payments.

Rose also received two payments of £5,000 and £5,500 from her friend Michelle Willis, after telling her she had financial difficulties her husband did not know about.

In 2009, about £500 was raised at a fundraising event in her honour, which was held at Bar Txt.

Her scam was uncovered when a headteacher inquired with a doctor at Croydon University Hospital about the cancer and received a letter saying she did not have a brain tumour and was suffering from "tension type headaches."

In her evidence, Rose said her colleagues had offered her money after she showed them letters from bailiffs threatening to repossess her home. She denied telling them she had terminal cancer.

It is not known what Rose spent the cash she received on.