A policeman who hero worshipped Lance Armstrong, the Tour De France winner who beat cancer, faked having the disease to persuade his girlfriend to marry him. Michael Matts, 34, described as a Walter Mitty character, lied to his family, friends and work colleagues about his disease to impress them, grab the limelight and to bring "glory" to his life, it was said.
He went as far as to allow friends to give him lifts to the hospital for radiotherapy and persuaded his fiancée with whom he now has two children to bring forward their wedding because of his illness. During the day he even excused himself from the ceremony on several occasions because he said he was tired by the disease.
But all the time there was nothing wrong with him and he was using his sick leave to build up a cycling business. However his fantasy world came crashing down this week after he was jailed for 12 months for the series of deceptions and frauds.
Matts has been divorced by his 30-year-old wife Emma, who is said to be "devastated" and is refusing to let him see their children. Her father, John Heighton, 78, said afterwards: "He's a conniving cheating liar and a sick fantasist. He's put my family through hell."
Leicester Crown Court heard that Matts hero worshipped Lance Armstrong, the American cyclist who successfully fought testicular cancer and came back to win a record number of Tour De France races. He used the world famous cyclist, Lance Armstrong, as a "template" to bolster his lies about having cancer.
Matts, who was perfectly healthy, told the stream of attention seeking lies to grab the limelight, gain sympathy and to impress.