Judge: Simon Buckden showed ‘breathtaking’ disrespect for cancer victims

A judge told Buckden he had shown “breathtaking” disrespect for cancer sufferers and had insulted every man and woman who ever fought in the army.

Passing sentence, judge Christopher Batty told Buckden: “You are 44-years-of-age and psychological tests on you reveal that you are a man who is heavily dependant on others, needs to be liked, has a need for attention, affection, sympathy and someone who may exploit social relationships in an attempt to fulfil your own needs.

Simon Buckden.

Simon Buckden.

“Each one of those personality traits has been at the fore of this case. Also brought to the fore is the fact that you are a dishonest and manipulative man.

“You developed a fictitious persona. A dishonest life history in order, in my view, to advance your own projects in life.

“You sought to portray yourself as a decorated war veteran.”

The judge added: “You were never on the front line. You never fought in such a way for your country.”

Judge Batty said Buckden instead served for 11 years as a military clerk in the Royal Signals and had an in-depth knowledge of financial matters.

He told Buckden: “You left the army without decoration and yet you stood proudly at the cenotaphs of Leeds and Newcastle in your SAS beret and array of medals you bought on the internet.

“You insulted every man and woman who has ever risked their life fighting in the army.”

The judge described how many people were taken in by Buckden’s claims to have cancer, not just the victims of the frauds hecommitted.

Buckden lied to his former partner, Susanna Domeniconi, about having the disease at a time when her own father was terminally ill from colon cancer.

The judge said Buckden had also fooled the local and national media as well as those who were genuinely suffering from cancer.

He said: “How you can stand in front of a true cancer sufferer and lie to them about yourself is beyond me.”

“You abused a position of power and responsibility that you had created for yourself as the public figure that you had become.”

The judge added: “The disrespect that you have shown to people with cancer and the families of those who have lost their battle with it is truly breathtaking.

As well as being sent to prison Buckden was also made the subject of a restraining order banning him from making any comments on social media about any of the witnesses who were involved the trial.

Prosecutor Craig Hassall said the restraining order was necessary as Buckden had continued to make comments on social media after he was initially arrested and charged over the offences.

Mr Hassall said Buckden had made comments about Louisa Rodrigues, in particular, and she had obtained a non-molestation order against him.

The prosecutor said it was the Crown’s case that Buckden’s offending had a wider impact on the community as it had the potential to undermine public trust in charities.

He said: “The wider impact of the defendant’s offending is obvious.

“There is huge competition within the charity sector in gaining the attention as well as the financial donations of the general public.

“Cancer is a disease that touches most people’s lives, if not directly then through friends of family members.

“It is a disease that can be contracted by anyone at any time and people are scared of it.

“To make a false claim to be suffering from cancer and then to be caught out in the lie spreads suspicion in relation to accounts given by genuine sufferers.”

Buckden’s barrister, Louise Santamera, read a letter of apology to the court on Buckden’s behalf in which he stated: “I am deeply sorry for the pain and loss I have caused victims in this case.

“I cannot change what has happened in the past but I can change my behaviour in the future.

“I will continue to raise awareness for PTSD and hope that others do not take the wrong path as I have done in life.”

Ms Santamera said Buckden had committed the offences in order to continue to raise funds for charity rather than fund a lavish lifestyle for himself.