A man who said he was raising money for the young son of murdered soldier Lee Rigby has been found guilty of two counts of fraud and sentenced to two and a half years in prison, after he kept the money himself.
Gary Gardner was found guilty of two counts of fraud at Leicester Crown Court yesterday, after the court heard he raised at least £24,000 but only £4,000 made its way to support Rigby’s family.
He was sentenced this morning to two and a half years for fraud, the Press Assoication has announced.
Lee Rigby was a British soldier who was murdered in 2013 by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, south east London. Gardner organised various events which were said to raise money for Rigby’s son and wife, including a charity single and truck-pulling events.
Gardner was found guilty after using the money to "prop up" his overdrawn bank account.
He spent up to £5,000 donated by the public for Jack Rigby’s son, on the production of a fundraising music single which only raised £200.
Gardner was cleared of one count of fraud which alleged he failed to keep a record of the amounts raised from fundraisers.
The court was told Gardner put on the truck-pull events in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in the Leicestershire villages of Medbourne and Market Harborough, and Stroud, Gloucestershire, which Mrs Rigby and Jack attended.
The BBC reported that when asked if she’d received any money from these fundraising efforts, Rebecca Rigby, Lee Rigby’s widow, said: "Jack and myself have never received a penny from him”.
After the verdict, Steven Kennell from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Gardner had "behaved dishonestly throughout, even inviting the Rigby family to attend his events and posing publicly with a presentation cheque to imply he had donated the money".