She was labelled as “scatty” during the case by both barristers

A cancer surgeon has been cleared of fraud and labelled “scatty” after being accused of altering her policy regarding £4,000 worth of jewellery.

Dr Gisella Salerno, 45, was described as “scatty but not dishonest” during a week-long trial at the Inner London Court, which ended on Friday.

The claim

The bowel cancer specialist at Wexham Park Hospital in Berkshire made a claim after losing her diamond-encrusted engagement and wedding ring during a new-year trip to the Canary Islands.

She believed that the rings slipped off her finger while she slept and was then swept up with the sheets when the bedding was changed.

She told the court that an extensive search took place to try and locate the rings, which the hotel and her holiday rep confirmed.

However, she found herself being accused of altering her policy after the rings were lost in an attempt to trick Hastings Direct into paying the claim.

Dr Salerno altered her policy during the trip in December 2015 after realising her possessions were no longer covered due to her family moving house.

She said she noticed the rings were missing on 29 December and declared them lost two days later after the search had been completed.

However, she did not make the claim until February 2016.

When questioned about the delay in submitting a claim, she said she had to juggle work and looking after her two children while her husband was away in the army.

The trial

Dr Salerno said: ”I’m not trying to pull a fast one on anyone.

”It is silly to think I would risk my job, family, and liberty to try and steal £4,000 — I would not and I did not.”

Robert Evans, a criminal barrister, said: “She is not very good with detail sometimes, but she is a trustworthy person. In her personal affairs she is a bit scatty.”

Anil Desai, a fellow surgeon at Wexham Park, told the court: “When a mistake was made, I could trust Gisella to put her hands up and say ‘yes, I made a mistake’.” 

And finally, defence barrister Tim Starkey QC told jurors: “She’s just been a bit scatty, it’s being a bit careless and having a lot on her mind at the time.”

She was found not guilty of fraud by false representation.