Royal Marsden
The gang managed to defraud more than £640,000 from the cancer hospital in LondonGetty

Eight people including an NHS account worker have been jailed for fleecing a cancer hospital out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Stacey Tipler, 32, was sentenced to four years in jail for playing an integral part in siphoning more than £640,000 from the world-renowned Royal Marsden in London.

Tipler was convicted of using her role in the accounts department at the hospital to access computerised payment systems meant for purchasing vital drugs and equipment.

The money was then funnelled to the accounts of six other members of the group, who were recruited by 33-year-old Scott Chaplin, Tipler's then fiancé and main instigator of the scam. He was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail after been found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to launder money.

Upon sentencing at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Justice Anthony Leonard QC told Tipler while he was satisfied Chaplin was the ringleader in the plot, only she could have come up with the "sophisticated and ingenious methods" to ensure the £642,000 scam went undetected.

He added: "I am satisfied that it was not you who had the idea to defraud the hospital. It is my judgment that on your own this fraud would not have been committed.

"That said once the idea was there the position of trust you held made you invaluable in achieving the fraud.

"The skill which you showed in trying to ensure the fraud would go undiscovered was very great and very dishonest. It was a very clever but dishonest fraud."

After successfully laundering the money, the court heard how the group spent the money on a number of luxurious items, including Louis Vuitton clothing and accessories.

Tipler and Chaplin are also understood to have spent thousands of pounds for a deposit on a wedding venue before the ceremony was called off.

Kelly Matthews, a lawyer with the CPS Specialist Fraud Division, said: "This was a sophisticated, large-scale fraud orchestrated to divert vital public funds for essential equipment and medicines at the Royal Marsden.

"Tipler and Chaplin bear the brunt of responsibility but they didn't act alone. It was only with the others agreeing for their bank accounts to be used to launder the money that they were all able to benefit from the fraud.

"The vital money was used towards Tipler and Chaplin's upcoming wedding, clearing debts and lavish goods, including Gucci and Louis Vuitton. This was a selfish and gross misuse of public funds and today those responsible have been brought to justice."

Clinton Woolery, 35, Thomas Quinlan, 26, Russell Baker, 32 and William Flynn, 37, and Roy Harriot all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to money launder at an earlier hearing.

Adrian Horan, 43, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to money launder. He was jailed for 21 months.

Woolery was sentenced to 10 months, Quinlan for eight months and Flynn for 12 months. Baker was given a nine week suspended sentence while Harriott was given a 12-week suspended sentence. Both were ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work.