‘Cancer’ man guilty

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A RUGBY man who stole cash from well-wishers after falsely claiming he was dying of cancer is facing an ‘almost inevitable’ prison sentence, his lawyer has conceded.

Earlier this year Simon Swift, of Lauderdale Close, Long Lawford, ‘revealed’ he had been diagnosed with cancer which he said had started in his spine.

Swift said it had been discovered by chance following scans and then a biopsy carried out after he thought he was having a heart attack because of chest pains caused by one of his sons giving him a bear hug which had ‘popped a rib.’

The 39-year-old father-of-three claimed in May that two weeks earlier he had been given the devastating news that it was terminal.

The cancer, he said, had spread to his brain and to his bones, but he ‘bravely’ commented: “I know I’m dying, and I’ve come to terms with it.”

He said that before he died he wanted to do something to raise money for cancer research, and had set about staging a fundraising event at Rugby Lions clubhouse.

Prizes were donated by a number of local businesses and hundreds of pounds worth of tickets were bought by friends, relatives and supporters for the event.

But it was all lies.

The rugby club pulled the plug on the event after it was revealed that Swift was not, as he had claimed, receiving treatment at University Hospital in Coventry.

Swift was arrested, and at Warwick Crown Court on Thursday he pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to two charges of fraud and five charges of theft.

The court heard the first of the offences took place in November last year, before his cancer claim, when he gained a credit facility at the Rupert Brook pub by making a ‘false representation’ to Emma Boardman that an account would be settled with a Lloyds TSB card.

Between May, when Swift began his cancer scam and the date of the cancelled fundraiser in June, he stole £50 from Denise Cleary, £80 from Yvette McCartney, and £20 each from Julie Beck and Kirk Russell.

Swift also stole a £59.99 pressure washer from the Homebase store on the Eliot Fields Retail Park in Rugby.

In the final charge, he admitted he had dishonestly ‘made a false representation to persons unknown’ which he knew was untrue or misleading, in that he ‘asked for donations and goods for use in charitable fundraising for a cancer charity.

Asking for a pre-sentence report, Swift’s solicitor Nick Devine conceded: “I acknowledge that custody in this case, bearing in mind the circumstances and Mr Swift’s record, is almost inevitable.”

But he said he believed there were matters in Swift’s background which may be relevant to sentencing.

So Recorder Stuart Farquhar adjourned the case until late January for the pre-sentence report to be prepared, but commented: “Count seven in particular is very unpleasant.”

He remanded Swift, who had moved out of Long Lawford and had been living at a hostel in Chase Avenue, Coventry, before jumping bail in September, in custody until then.