A father from Staffordshire 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, aged 49, from Quince, Amington, Tamworth, 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 cash went into Wright’s personal bank account, 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.
After Bobby, who is now aged 11 and cancer-free, responded well to a variety of holistic and natural therapies, he said he wanted to help others in a similar situation.
Wright was found guilty of 10 counts of theft and two of fraud by false representation. He was cleared of one count of fraud by false representation and will be sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on September 5.