Leeds & West Yorkshire

Ex-serviceman Simon Buckden admits cancer lie fraud

Simon Buckden
Image caption Simon Buckden pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud midway through his trial at Leeds Crown Court

A former military clerk who fabricated tales of frontline service has admitted he lied about having cancer to swindle thousands of pounds.

Simon Buckden, 44, got more than £7,500 in money and services after pretending to have rectal cancer.

He also claimed to have served in the SAS and seen active duty in Bosnia and both Gulf Wars.

Buckden, from Leeds, denied six counts of fraud but on the fifth day of his trial changed his plea to guilty.

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Media captionSimon Buckden carried the Olympic torch ahead of London 2012

Buckden hit the headlines after announcing he would run 100 marathons in 100 weeks to raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and money for Help for Heroes.

During the challenge he announced he had cancer but would continue running.

However, medical records revealed he had never been diagnosed with the disease.

Leeds Crown Court heard Buckden, who took part in the Olympic torch relay in the run up to the 2012 London Olympic Games, was a military clerk and had never experienced frontline duty.

Image caption Simon Buckden took part in the Olympic torch relay

Among those he defrauded, Richard McCann - whose mother, Wilma, was killed by the Yorkshire Ripper - gave Buckden a free place on a speaking course.

He was also given free therapy sessions, a publicity film, and received £2,000 for a holiday and around £1,500 to set up a social enterprise.

Prosecutor Craig Hassell said "people were, naturally, moved by his story and moved to try to help him".

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Media captionPhil Lee was 'deeply offended' by Buckden's lies

Ex-serviceman Phil Lee, who was also conned, said Buckden's actions were damaging to genuine veterans.

"Lots of guys who I served with, who are genuine veterans, are deeply offended by these characters who proclaim to have served in many parts of the world or worked with special forces when it's fairly clear they were nowhere near," he said.

"It brings the reputation of veterans down and it's something we can genuinely do without."

Buckden, of of Landseer Way, Bramley, Leeds, is due to be sentenced on Monday.

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