Toby Nye: Mum sentenced for gambling away cancer fund

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Stacey Worsley
Image caption,
Nurse Stacey Worsley gambled donations made to her son's cancer treatment fund

A mother who gambled away more than £100,000 stolen from a fund set up to pay for her son's cancer treatment has been given a suspended sentence.

Leeds United fan Toby Nye, who had high-risk neuroblastoma, died in January just days after his sixth birthday.

His mother, Stacey Worsley, admitted fraud at a previous Leeds Crown Court hearing.

The 32-year-old was given a two-year jail term suspended for two years.

Image source, Leeds United
Image caption,
Toby Nye, pictured with Leeds captain Liam Cooper, died in January

Judge Guy Kearl QC said Worsley, the sole trustee of the fund, started gambling online with the donated money with the intention of increasing it to help her son.

However, the nurse began to chase "spiralling" losses, he said, and had been under "extraordinary pressure" including having to look after two other young children.

The judge told Worsley: "You became overwhelmed by the situation in which you found yourself.

"No-one could fail to be moved by your story.

"You were under enormous pressure and I have no doubt that all of this started as a result of you wanting to raise the money for his treatment."

Worsley racked up £140,000 in gambling debts but the judge noted she had not spent any of the money on "luxuries" for herself.

Judge Kearl said: "This case is unique. The confluence of mitigating factors takes it far outside the norm and are unlikely to recur."

He said the money had been recovered from the online gambling companies and would be given back to major donors and other charities.

Image source, Nye family
Image caption,
Toby was diagnosed with a stage four neuroblastoma on his fourth birthday

Nicholas De La Poer, defending Worsley, said her gambling "became a compulsive distraction from the horrors of the situation".

West Yorkshire Police previously said Toby's medical treatment was not affected by the fraud.

Toby, from Osmondthorpe, Leeds, became ill at Christmas 2016 and on his fourth birthday in January 2017, his family were told he had a stage four neuroblastoma tumour.

He had struck up relationships with several players and staff at his beloved Leeds United.

Last year, the club raised the £200,000 needed to fund his cancer treatment. Players and staff gave a day's salary and fans also donated.

Worsley had pleaded guilty to one charge of committing fraud by false representation.

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