Lee Rigby: Fundraiser Gary Gardner jailed for fraud

BBC News
PA Gary Gardner was accused of using some of the money raised to release a "flop" charity song

A fundraiser has been jailed for two and a half years after pocketing cash collected for the young son of murdered soldier Lee Rigby.

Gary Gardner, 56, of Medbourne, raised about £24,000 but only £4,000 made its way to any charity, a court heard.

Leicester Crown Court was told Gardner put on three truck-pull events attended by thousands, including Fusilier Rigby's widow Rebecca and son Jack.

He was convicted of two counts of fraud at Leicester Crown Court on Thursday.

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 at Stroud in Gloucestershire, which Mrs Rigby and Jack attended.

Sentencing Gardner, Recorder Helen Malcolm QC said: "There has been an impact on every one of those who volunteered to assist you."

She added: "Not one penny of the sums that you collected have been paid to Jack Rigby.

"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.

"The fact remains that what you did was undoubtedly dishonest. I would say it was indeed despicable."