Simon Buckden: Liar used Olympic torch relay to make marriage proposal to girlfriend

Simon Bucken,
Simon Bucken,

Simon Buckden claimed he had been diagnosed with rectal cancer midway through a challenge to run 100 marathons in 100 weeks to raise awareness of post traumatic stress disorder.

Buckden was locked up for 16 months after pleading guilty to six charges of fraud midway through his trial at Leeds Crown court in November 2016.

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Jurors heard how he conned victims into giving him money and providing services free of charge after they believed his false claims about suffering from cancer.

The fraudster also lied about his army career as he campaigned to raise awareness of post traumatic stress disorder.

Buckden claimed he suffered from the condition due to the horrors experienced while fighting for his country.

In reality, he worked as a military clerk and never saw any action on the front line.

Buckden also claimed to have served with the SAS.

He turned up at Remembrance Day services wearing a sand-coloured beret, as worn by members of the special forces.

He was invited to take part in the 2012 Olympic torch relay through Leeds after building up a reputation as a heroic campaigner.

During that event Buckden got down on one knee and proposed to his then girlfriend.

She accepted the proposal but the relationship ended when Buckden’s sick lies were uncovered.

Two of Buckden’s former partners told the trial how he made claims about having rectal cancer days after they ended relationships with him.

Police later obtained Buckden’s medical records and there was no evidence of him ever being diagnosed with cancer.

Both women described in court how Buckden claimed to have endured harrowing experiences while serving his country in both Gulf wars, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Rwanda.

He claimed to have been left traumatised after uncovering mass graves in Bosnia, cradling a dying child in his arms, being shot at by a sniper and having to shoot his friend in the kneecap in order to infiltrate the IRA.

The fraud charges related to people providing money and practical help after hearing of Buckden’s battles with cancer and post traumatic stress disorder.

The total value of the offending was £7,700.

They related to him making false claims about medical conditions in order to obtain cash, attend therapy sessions and having a film made about him.

Those duped by Buckden included Richard McCann, son of Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe’s first murder victim, who allowed him to attend a public speaking skills and presentation day without paying.

Film maker Mark Curry agreed to make a promotional film about Buckden’s fundraising campaign free of charge.

He also lied to behavioural coach Philip Lee in order to attend courses.

Buckden told lies to Kimm Fearnley which resulted in him receiving a therapy session without paying.

He also received sums of £2,000 and £1,591 from businessmen Geoff Shepherd and Gareth Boot who offered help after after being inspired by Buckden’s campaign.

The offending took place between April 1 2012 and July 31 2012.

Buckden’s crimes were also condemned by former SAS soldier and best-selling author Andy McNab.

Mr McNab said: “It doesn’t matter whether he is claiming to be SAS or anybody in the Services, the fact he was using other people’s courage, experience and tragedy to gain sympathy and attention is sickening.”