Fundraiser guilty of keeping money collected for Lee Rigby’s son

Fundraiser guilty of keeping money collected for Lee Rigby’s son

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A fundraiser who pocketed cash collected for the young son of murdered soldier Lee Rigby has been found guilty of two counts of fraud.

Jurors unanimously convicted Gary Gardner, who had spent profits on producing a music single he knew would be a “flop”.

Leicester Crown Court heard that Mr Gardner spent up to £5,000 donated by the public for Jack Rigby on producing a charity music single which only raised £200.

Mr Gardner, aged 56, denied fraud claiming his charity single was a flop because of “atrocious weather” at the launch event in London’s Trafalgar Square in February 2014.

However, the jury panel found him guilty after accepting that he used trust funds to “prop up” his overdrawn bank account.

The verdict provoked no emotion from the defendant.

Lee Rigby’s widow Rebecca was in court to hear the two guilty verdicts on Thursday.

 

‘He spent all the money he received’

Prosecutor Samuel Skinner said Mr Gardner also used profits for travel expenses in London as he transferred funds from the charity bank account to his own personal account.

Mr Skinner told jurors: "The defendant appears to have an enthusiasm for promoting emerging music artists and it is the showcasing of these acts that has swallowed up most of the verifiable donations.

"In any event, the defendant used some of the money for a purpose that the original donors never intended and would not have approved if they had known.

"It appears that the defendant has spent all the money he received."

In May 2013, Private Lee Rigby of the Royal Fusiliers was murdered on the streets of London and shortly after the soldier's death, Gardner said he wanted to raise money for Jack Rigby and local Medbourne village causes.

Giving evidence in the trial, Mrs Rigby said: "There were talks of climbing Kilimanjaro, there were a number of things he wanted to do to raise funds for Jack.

"He spoke about large money - thousands - and it was as if it would set Jack up for life."

Mrs Rigby was asked: "Have you ever received any money from this defendant?" to which she replied: "Jack and myself have never received a penny from him."