Grandfather, 58, ‘stole £370,000 from children’s cancer charity he founded after his grandson was struck down with the disease’, court hears
- Colin Nesbitt, 58, pocketed cash from the Little Heroes Cancer Trust (LHCT)
- Nesbitt, of Bingley, West Yorkshire, siphoned the donations in his bank account
- The vast majority of donations came from sponsored fire walks in the UK
Colin Nesbitt, pictured outside Bradford Crown Court, allegedly used the money in Little Heroes Cancer Trust ‘as his own’
A grandfather stole £370,000 from a children’s cancer charity he set up after his grandson was struck down by the disease, a court heard.
Colin Nesbitt used the money in Little Heroes Cancer Trust ‘as his own’ and set up a secret bank account with more than £180,000 of its money in it.
The court heard Nesbitt, 58, had founded the charity in 2008 with its aim to raise money to assist young children with cancer and to provide their families with information and support.
Little Heroes raised money through charity auctions, gala days and donations; however, 90 per cent of its money came from ‘firewalks’.
These events were often held in pubs and saw people get sponsored to walk over hot coals.
Prosecutor James Lake told Bradford Crown Court, Nesbitt had torn open and emptied the charity’s money bags and had used trustees as puppets.
A jury was told Nesbitt formed a separate company ‘Unite And Ignite’ to facilitate these events and would often bank the charitable takings into this company rather than Little Heroes.
Nesbitt, of Bingley, West Yorks, had sole control of the Little Heroes bank account, Bradford Crown Court heard.
From Little Heroes funds Nesbitt bought a £20,000 static caravan in Newquay, in his name, which was supposed to be for sick children and their families, but he would use it to the detriment of these needy people.
Colin Nesbitt outside Bradford Crown Court. From Little Heroes funds Nesbitt bought a £20,000 static caravan in Newquay, in his name, which was supposed to be for sick children and their families
And when police searched a Mitsubishi Trojan L200, owned by the charity, but parked up on the roadside outside Nesbitt’s partner’s address they found a total of £12,495 in cash – £8,264 stashed in a suitcase and £4,231 in three separate bags in the glove box.
Between 2009 and 2015, Nesbitt treated the charity’s money as his own, had deposited funds into three different accounts and had made two unsecured loans to employees – misleading The Charity Commission.
Nesbitt, who was arrested in October 2015, denied benefitting from the Little Heroes Cancer Trust.
He told the police that financial management was not one of his strengths and his accountancy was ‘atrocious’.
He denied having a secret bank account or tearing open money bags to remove the contents.
Nesbitt, 58, of Bingley, West Yorkshire, denies five charges of fraud by abuse of position, three counts of supplying false and misleading information to The Charity Commission by under-declaring the charity’s revenue, and one charge of stealing £7,000 from the Little Heroes Cancer Trust.
In his opening address to the jury, Nesbitt’s barrister, Matthew Donkin, told the panel not to form a judgement from distaste or prejudice because the allegations were ‘particularly unattractive’.
Mr Donkin said Nesbitt never sought to look after himself at the expense of the charity.
He said: ‘No funds from the charity were ever set aside by Mr Nesbitt for his own gain.
‘The key issue in this case is whether the prosecution can prove that he (Nesbitt) ran that charity dishonestly.’
The trial continues.