Fraudster jailed for bid to cash in on tragic Lee Rigby
A “DESPICABLE” fraudster who failed to hand over more than £20,000 raised for the son of murdered Yorkshire soldier Lee Rigby has been jailed.
Lorry driver Gary Gardner was told he will serve half of a twoand-a-half-year sentence in custody for two counts of fraud committed in the three years after the fusilier’s murder in 2013.
The 56-year-old lorry driver, who has previous convictions for theft and fraud in 1980 and 1995, showed no emotion as he was told he had caused trauma to the soldier’s widow, Rebecca Rigby.
Gardner, of Old Holt Road, Medbourne, Leicestershire, was found guilty on Thursday after an eight-day trial. The court was told he used some of the charity funds to “prop up” his overdrawn bank account.
Although Gardner paid around £4,000 to other charities after a series of high-profile fund-raising events, he failed to pay over a penny of a further £20,250 donated by the public to help Fusilier Rigby’s young son, Jack Rigby.
In a victim impact statement read into the court record before the sentencing, Lee Rigby’s widow Rebecca said she was disgusted at Gardner’s actions.
In the statement, she said the proceedings had placed her in a “daunting” emotional place and forced her to relive her attendance at the trial of her husband’s killers. Mrs Rigby stated that a further trial was like reliving the earlier trial, adding: “I feel that this matter with Mr Gardner will draw the eyes of the world upon us again.
“I feel disgusted about Mr Gardner not making good his promises with regard to my son and abusing my family name.”
Jailing Gardner at Leicester Crown Court, Recorder Helen Malcolm QC told the HGV driver: “I accept all the evidence that you worked very hard. In your favour I accept that you did not set out with the intention to defraud.”