Leeds & West Yorkshire

Cancer lie military clerk Simon Buckden jailed

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Media captionSimon Buckden carried the Olympic torch ahead of London 2012

A former military clerk who lied about having cancer to swindle victims out of money and services worth more than £7,500 has been jailed for 16 months.

Simon Buckden, 44, from Leeds, received donations including a £2,000 holiday after lying about his condition.

He also falsely claimed to have served in the SAS and seen active duty in Bosnia and Northern Ireland.

He was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court having pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud midway through his trial.

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Media captionFraudster made false cancer claims in promotional video

Buckden described traumatic experiences from his fabricated career, including holding a dying child in his arms, and claimed he suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result.

But jurors heard Buckden was a military clerk who had carried out one overseas deployment to Bosnia but had never experienced front line active service.

Image caption Buckden claimed to be running 100 marathons in 100 weeks

He claimed he had been diagnosed with rectal cancer midway through a challenge to run 100 marathons in 100 weeks to raise awareness of PTSD.

Judge Christopher Batty told Buckden: "You are a dishonest and manipulative man.

"Over a period from at least 2009, you developed a fictitious persona, a dishonest life history in order to advance your own prospects in life.

"The disrespect you have shown to those who have suffered cancer and to those who have lost their battle with it is quite breathtaking."

At one stage during the challenge he ran from Leeds to Westminster, receiving the praise of former Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Cameron said: "I'm happy to pay tribute to those people who have achieved so much through that run."

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Media captionDavid Cameron praised the 'charity work' when he was PM

Among his victims Buckden, who in 2012 took part in the Olympic torch relay, duped therapist Kimm Fearnley out of services worth about £240.

She said: "He preyed on people who were kind and generous.

"My daughter died of cancer and to actually have somebody pretending to have cancer is abhorrent."

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

Ex-serviceman Phil Lee, who was also conned, said Buckden "bamboozled me with his sob story" and he thought it was a "no-brainer" to offer his help to "this very unfortunate person".

He said Buckden's actions "deeply offended" genuine veterans.

Buckden was given a restraining order banning him from contacting the prosecution witnesses in the case or making any comment about them on social media.

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