MILTON, Ont. — The lawyer for an Ontario woman accused of faking terminal cancer and taking money raised to help her hopes she will be released from jail Friday, though he is concerned for her once she is out.
Police allege Ashley Kirilow, of Burlington, Ont., pretended to have cancer to raise money she promised to give to charity, but kept the cash for herself.
She is facing three counts of fraud under $5,000 and one count of fraud over $5,000. One of the charges dates as far back as February 2009.
The 23-year-old appeared briefly via video in court Thursday to continue her bail hearing, which has already been postponed several times, but it was adjourned to Friday.
Once sporting a bald head covered with a scarf in photos posted on Facebook, Kirilow appeared on the television screen Thursday with short reddish hair parted on the side. She cast her eyes downward during the court proceedings, which lasted no more than a few minutes.
“Thank you,” she said when told the matter would be heard the next day.
After Thursday’s appearance her lawyer, Brendan Neil, said he hoped she will be granted bail Friday and released, but he is concerned about what will happen after that because of the anger the case has sparked.
When allegations surfaced against Ashley Kirilow of Burlington, Ont., public outrage was swift and furious. Vitriolic comments flooded news websites and a Facebook page for Kirilow’s supposed charity, with some even saying they hoped she actually got cancer.
Kirilow was charged after turning herself in to police Aug. 7, and Neil said he hopes the initial outrage has had time to dissipate.
“I think there’s concern with everyone involved on what could happen outside,” he said outside court Thursday.
“That’s not to say that people aren’t legitimately affected by the allegations … It’s hard to imagine anyone who isn’t affected by the spectre of cancer and it’s certainly understandable that people would be affected by the nature of the allegations that have come out.”
However, there is more to the story than meets the eye, Neil said, and he looks forward to the facts coming out in court.
Her parents have said they want nothing more to do with her, as have several former supporters, but Neil said it may seem like no one has come forward for Kirilow, but that’s not the case.
“There’s certainly an individual that came to court today with an offer to post bail,” Neil said.
A man with tattoos covering his face and neck was in court Thursday, and said outside the courtroom that he was a friend and “concerned citizen” who would offer to post bail for her if the court agrees it should be granted.
He did not want to identify himself or say if he knows Kirilow personally.
Kirilow’s father has said she told him she shaved her head, shaved her eyebrows and plucked her eyelashes to appear to have the illness.
One published report quoted her as saying she was sorry for what she has done and that she said she has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.