Man guilty of £171k charity cash theft is 'crushed' by verdict
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.
A jury of seven women and five men found Kevin Wright guilty of 10 counts of theft and two of fraud after a trial in Nottingham lasting more than five weeks.
Wright, 49, had been living at Tidcombe Hall, Tiverton, and before that at Kenn, near Exeter. He 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 launched 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.
NEW IN : for those cold winter nights highland check dog and cat beds in stock, fleecy and washable ideal for those nights snuggling by the fire...... available in 3 colourways
Contact: 01271 440626
Valid until: Saturday, January 25 2014
Wright set up a number of appeals for children with cancer. He advised their parents to feed their child an organic diet as it had helped his son to overcome it. The mother of a child diagnosed with a brain tumour wept as she told the court she was never made aware of the amount Wright raised for her son.
Wright started Callum's Appeal to raise money for treatment for Callum Kaye, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2005.
Callum's mother Anna Kaye told jurors Mr Wright gave her advice about organic food and supplements and told her about life-saving treatment at a US hospital. However, when they visited the hospital, doctors said the treatment was not appropriate for Callum.
Following the trip in December, 2008, she told Wright she no longer felt comfortable fundraising for her son as he wasn't going to be treated in the US. But she told the court Wright told her they should "keep going until the end of the year".
Money which Wright raised went into his personal bank account to fund his "interests, investments and personal lifestyle", the court heard.
Ironically the large property in Tiverton which the Wright family were renting was formerly used by charity Marie Curie for the treatment of cancer patients.
Wright told the jury that every penny he raised was intended to help youngsters living with cancer.
Speaking to the Gazette yesterday, Wright was "crushed" by the verdict. However, he insisted it would not deter him from attempting to help other families whose children had cancer, in the future, claiming he had always acted with the best of intentions even if he had been ignorant of trust law.
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.
Following the verdicts, Judge Greg Dickinson told the court Wright had two previous convictions for theft and another for forgery.
He will be sentenced on September 5.