Widow of dead scientist celebrates fraudster jail sentence
Widow of a British scientist, 67, who killed himself while working for bogus blood-testing firm Theranos celebrates the 11 year jail sentence for pregnant fraudster Elizabeth Holmes
- Holmes was sentenced to 11 years for defrauding investors out of millions
- Rochelle Gibbons husband Ian took overdose after challenging Holmes about overblown claims made for her technology
- She said that the 11-year sentence made her feel ‘complete relief and joy’
The widow of a British scientist who killed himself while working for bogus blood-testing firm Theranos has celebrated the jailing of its founder.
On Friday, Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to 11¼ years for defrauding Silicon Valley investors out of £121 million.
Rochelle Gibbons, whose husband Ian took a fatal overdose after challenging Holmes about the overblown claims made for her technology, said the sentence made her feel ‘complete relief and joy’.
She added that she hoped Holmes would ‘experience pain’ while behind bars, and dismissed her tearful courtroom apology.
Cambridge-educated biochemist Dr Ian Gibbons became Theranos’s chief scientist in 2005. But he took a fatal overdose of painkillers in 2013, at the age of 67, the night before he was due to meet Holmes. He believed he was to be fired for raising concerns about the company.
On Friday, Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to 11¼ years for defrauding Silicon Valley investors out of £121 million
Rochelle Gibbons said the sentence made her feel ‘complete relief and joy’
Speaking from her home near San Francisco, Mrs Gibbons said: ‘I’m so happy. The news flashed across my iPhone when I was on another call. I couldn’t believe it. It was complete relief and joy, especially since a lot of the people involved have written to me in the past few days and were very pessimistic.
‘I know she has appealed, but she deserved her sentence. Aside from the money she stole from investors, she really hurt a lot of people. It doesn’t help me because I don’t get my husband back, but at least I get some joy from the fact I think it will be very painful for her. I want her to experience pain.’
Holmes falsely claimed to have invented a revolutionary machine that could test for a range of conditions such as cancer and diabetes with a single drop of blood.
At its peak, Theranos employed more than 800 people and was valued at £8 billion, with Holmes having a personal fortune of £4 billion. But after the Wall Street Journal raised questions about the tests in 2015, her empire collapsed.
Dr Ian Gibbons, a Cambridge-educated British biochemist who became Theranos chief scientist in 2005, took a fatal overdose in 2013 after becoming convinced that Holmes would sack him because he challenged her grandiose claims about her blood-testing machine
During her sentencing, Holmes broke down in tears as she addressed the court, saying she was ‘devastated by my failings’ and felt ‘deep pain’ for what she put others through, while her lawyers insisted she was only trying to help people.
But Mrs Gibbons said: ‘That’s b*******. She didn’t feel anything.’
Holmes, 38, has said she will appeal against the sentence. She is pregnant with her second child and will not be locked up until April, when the court in San Jose, California, has ordered her to surrender to custody. The judge will later hold a hearing determining how much money she will have to repay.
Mrs Gibbons, 75, said Holmes should have been ‘locked up right away’, adding: ‘She was really foolish. The way she conducted herself with the jury – smiling and flirting.
‘The story of her life is not one of helping people. She only made it seem like that because she was about to go to prison.’
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