Man guilty of cancer fund theft
A man has been found guilty of stealing tens of thousands of pounds from a fund he set up to raise money for the treatment of children with cancer, including his own son.
Kevin Wright bowed his head in the dock as a jury of seven women and five men found him guilty of 10 counts of theft and two of fraud after a trial lasting more than five weeks.
Wright stole a total of £171,500 from the Bobby Wright Cancer Fighting Fund, including donations of £60,000 made by charities Caudwell Children and Janet Nash.
He set up the fund to raise money for treatment for his son Bobby after he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma - a rare form of cancer - at the age of three in 2005.
Wright, 49, from Quince, Amington, Staffordshire, also stole cash and credit balances from appeals he set up to raise money for cancer treatment for youngsters Callum Kaye, aged three, and Armani Mohammad, also aged three.
The money went into Wright's personal bank account to fund his "interests, investments and personal lifestyle", the court heard.
Jurors heard Wright, formerly of Kenn near Exeter, gave £20,000 to a friend who ran a used-car business and that he put £60,000 into Premium Bonds.
Another £30,000 was used to buy the Toad in the Hole restaurant in Exeter, while a further £30,000 was invested in the Royal Oak pub in a village close to his home.
Wright claimed the restaurant and pub ventures were aimed at promoting natural food and were part of the fundraising, with any profits going back into the appeal funds.
Asked why any promotional material did not mention cancer, Wright told the court: "Who would want to go and eat in a cancer-themed restaurant? It's not going to pull people in, it's going to drive them away."