Simon Buckden: Ex-girlfriend of former Leeds soldier ‘he told me he had cancer’

Simon Buckden arrives at Leeds Crown Court for the second day of his trial.
Simon Buckden arrives at Leeds Crown Court for the second day of his trial.

The former partner of an ex-soldier on trial accused of lying about having cancer told a jury how he told her he was seriously ill days after she ended their relationship.

Susanna Domeniconi-Ravenhill gave evidence at the trial of Simon Buckden today where he is accused of fraud.

It is alleged Buckden, 44, was provided with money and practical help by people inspired by his story after hearing of his diagnosis and fundraising efforts.

The trial at Leeds Crown Court has heard how Buckden has also claimed to have suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of serving with the army in warzones across the world, including with the SAS.

The jury has been told police have obtained medical records which show no mention of him ever being diagnosed with cancer. His military record states that he served as a military clerk but saw no action on the frontline during his time in the army.

Mrs Domeniconi-Ravenhill described how Buckden told her that he may be suffering from cancer at a time when her own father was terminal ill with colon cancer.

His former girlfriend told the jury how Buckden began coughing up blood during during a “heated row” around the time their two-year relationship was coming to an end in November 2011.

Mrs Domeniconi-Ravenhill said Buckden later contacted her to say he was in hospital as he had been passing blood.

She described how she went to visit him in hospital in Leeds but Buckden arranged to meet her in a Costa Coffee area rather on the ward. She said the meeting took place late at night and he was wearing his normal clothes.

Describing the meeting she said: “He said that they were running tests and they did not know exactly what it was. At this point my father was terminally ill with colon cancer.”

She said Buckden then said to her as she was about to leave the hospital: “’I didn’t want to tell you about this but they think it is cancer.’”

She added: “It shook me quite a bit and I said ‘Ok let’s just wait and see’”

The court heard Buckden later sent a message to his former partner which read: “I have so many things to look forward to and I will fight all the way and I will take inspiration from your dad and my ex-wife.”

Mrs Domeniconi-Ravenhill told the court she had met Buckden in the summer of 2009 and he had told her that he had post traumatic stress disorder.

She said he had told her he served in both Gulf wars, Bosnia, Rwanda, Northern Ireland and Cyprus.

She also described how she had gone to a Remembrance Day service with Buckden and he had worn a sand-coloured beret to mark his service in the special forces.

Mrs Domeniconi-Ravenhill said Buckden decided he wanted to run 100 marathons in 100 weeks to raise money for Leeds-based veterans’ charity Forgotten Heroes.

She said Buckden asked her to use her skills in marketing to write a document called ‘The Simon Buckden Proposal’ in order to attract funding for his project.

She said: “He asked me to put together a business proposal and I spent many hours producing a booklet introducing him and his venture.”

Buckden, 44, of Landseer Way, Bramley, pleads not guilty to six offences of fraud.

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