Fraud­ster who kept £20,000 Lee Rigby cash told to re­pay just £3k

Middleton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - JOSH PAYNE

AFRAUDSTER who failed to hand over more than £20,000 raised for the son of mur­dered Mid­dle­ton soldier Lee Rigby has been or­dered to pay back a lit­tle over £3,000 in com­pen­sa­tion.

Gary Gard­ner was jailed for two and a half years in Septem­ber for two counts of fraud com­mit­ted in the three years af­ter the fusilier’s mur­der in 2013.

The 56-year-old lorry driver used some of the £20,250 to “prop up” his over­drawn bank ac­count and to make a char­ity sin­gle he “knew would be a flop”.

He put on truck-pull events in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in the Le­ices­ter­shire vil­lages of Med­bourne and Mar­ket Har­bor­ough, and Stroud, Glouces­ter­shire, which were at­tended by thou­sands of peo­ple in­clud­ing Fusilier Rigby’s widow and son Jack.

At a five-minute Pro­ceeds of Crime Act hear­ing, Le­ices­ter Crown Court was told Gard­ner still ben­e­fited from £18,318.89 from the Jack Rigby Char­i­ta­ble Trust, but he was only or­dered to pay the sum of his as­sets which was £3,247.53.

Judge Philip Head told Gard­ner: “I am told you have as­sets in the sum of £3,247.53 and I make a con­fis­ca­tion or­der for that amount.

“You have three months in which to pay it... you will serve a fur­ther two months in prison if you do not.”

The judge in­sisted Gard­ner, of Old Holt Road, Med­bourne, Le­ices­ter­shire, pay all funds in com­pen­sa­tion to the Jack Rigby Char­i­ta­ble Trust be­fore con­clud­ing the short hear­ing.

Af­ter Gard­ner was jailed in Septem­ber, Fusilier Rig- by’s widow Re­becca said a fur­ther trial was like re­liv­ing the ear­lier court case, 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.”

Fusilier Rigby, from Mid­dle­ton, was killed by Michael Ade­bo­lajo, 29, and Michael Ade­bowale, 22, when he was at­tacked out­side Wool­wich Bar­racks, Lon­don on May 22, 2013.

Ade­bo­lajo was given a whole-life term and Ade­bowale was jailed for a min­i­mum of 45 years for the mur­der of Fusilier Rigby.

Fraud­ster Gary Gard­ner has been told to pay £3,200 or face an­other two months in jail

Fusilier Lee Rigby

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