Bristol

Fake fundraiser used photo of Bailey Cooper who died of cancer

Bailey Cooper
Image caption Bailey Cooper from Patchway in South Gloucestershire died on Christmas Eve 2017

A mother says she has been left in shock after trolls used a photo of her nine-year-old son who died of cancer to create a fake fundraising page.

The Instagram profile and GoFundMe page claimed to be supporting a child called "Declan" but used a photo of Bailey Cooper, who died on Christmas Eve 2017.

His mother Rachel, from Bristol, said Bailey's younger brother Riley had been left shaken after seeing the photo.

More than 45,000 people followed the Instagram account.

The profile - called harrykane_birthday - also featured fake posts claiming to be by England footballer Harry Kane.

It said that funds were being raised to organise "Declan's" final birthday party and they wanted his "favourite footballer" to attend.

The pages have now been removed from both sites.

Image caption A fake Instagram profile used an photograph of Bailey while he was undergoing cancer treatment

"My initial thought was 'this is a joke - this isn't real'. I was in shock that it had even happened," said Ms Cooper, from Patchway.

"I know it is not a nice world we live in nowadays but I didn't think it was this cruel.

"It petrifies me and what makes it worse is that his little brother has seen it. He is really struggling.

"It has put me off social media. I'm frightened about what will be taken from us."

A GoFundMe spokeswoman said: "This campaign was proactively removed by our team within minutes of being posted.

"At no point would the person who posted it have been able to get access to any donations."

Image caption Bailey's mum Rachel said the ordeal had put her off using social media

A spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said: "We understand the distress this has caused the Cooper family.

"Impersonation accounts are against our Community Guidelines and will be removed once we are made aware of them.

"If someone believes they have spotted a fraudulent account, we'd encourage that they report it using our online form or in-app tools."

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