A teaching assistant accused of faking cancer to con colleagues out of cash has told a court she only asked them for help with her mortgage.

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

But giving evidence at Croydon Crown Court, the 42-year-old – who is accused of cheating her way to £20,000 – said she was offered money by colleagues after showing them letters from bailiffs threatening to repossess her home.

Speaking about the £3,000 lent to her by Gillian Trype, another teaching assistant at the school, Mrs Rose denied telling her she needed it for a life-threatening operation.

Mrs Trype previously told the court Mrs Rose told her she was worried she would die on the operating table, leaving her husband struggling with the mortgage.

Mrs Rose told the court she had only asked Mrs Trype to be a guarantor on a loan form, but her colleague had ended up offering to loan her the money herself.

The 42-year-old said she no longer had the paperwork she showed colleagues – including a letter from the bailiffs saying they were going to repossess her house – to get the money, as she had given them to her financial adviser.

Claire Robinson, prosecuting, told the court when Mrs Trype asked for the money to be repayed, Mrs Rose wrote two cheques which bounced, but Mrs Rose claimed she had stopped the cheques because Mr Trype wanted to be paid back in cash.

Mrs Robinson told the court that in 2009, a fundraiser was held in honour of Mrs Rose at Bar Txt, to raise money for her medical needs, but Mrs Rose denied the event was held in her honour and in a police statement said it was a girls’night out.

She said: “It was a fundraising event for children who have leukaemia. We all paid £5 to attend and there was a rafflel.

“The money wasn’t presented to me, I was just handed the money and asked to send it off.”

Asked about a card sent to the organiser in which she thanked her for the fundraiser and said “It was so appreciated by me and my family.”

Mrs Rose said: “I was thanking her as a community, I consider the school community as my family. I don’t know why I put ‘for me’, I think it is just my wording at the time.”

Mrs Rose denies four counts of fraud against three colleagues between 2008 and 2009.

The case continues.