British soldier who faked cancer pleads guilty to fraud charges

The court heard Simon Buckden described traumatic experiences that never happened

British soldier who faked cancer pleads guilty to fraud charges

File photo of Simon Buckden who admitted six counts of fraud on the fifth day of his trial at Leeds Crown Court | Image: David Cheskin PA Wire/PA Images

A British former soldier on trial for obtaining money and other benefits by pretending to have cancer has pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud.

Simon Buckden, of Bramley in Leeds, admitted the charges on the fifth day of the hearing at Leeds Crown Court.

The trial heard the 44-year-old obtained huge sums of money and services by lying about his medical condition, including stg£2,000 (€2,248) for a holiday.

He also told people he had carried out tours of duty in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Rwanda and both Gulf Wars, serving with the SAS, the UN and NATO.

He described traumatic experiences, including holding a dying child in his arms, and claimed he suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result.

But the trial heard Buckden was in fact a military clerk who had only carried out one overseas deployment - to Bosnia - and never experienced frontline action.

A psychiatrist found the ex-soldier, who has spoken about being abused by his parents and placed into care at the age of six, showed symptoms of PTSD before he was posted to Bosnia.

"Untruths" about his military career

The court heard that Buckden embarked on a challenge to run 100 marathons in 100 weeks to raise awareness of the condition.

He began telling people he had been diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and gave interviews to newspapers about the marathons.

Craig Hassell, prosecuting, said he told "untruths" about his military career and his cancer diagnosis to get sympathy and money.

He said: "In light of what he said about his diagnosis, people were, naturally, moved by his story and moved to try to help him.

"Here was a man who was making a valiant effort to raise funds for charity, running 100 marathons in 100 weeks, who had, in the middle of all of that, been cruelly struck down with cancer.

"Many of the witnesses in this case provided either money or practical help as a result of hearing about his cancer diagnosis."

As well as stg£2,000 (€2,248) for a holiday, Buckden also received free places on public speaking courses, therapy sessions, a publicity film and around stg£1,500 (€1,686) to set up a PTSD social enterprise.

He will be sentenced on Monday.