The mum of tragic youngster Toby Nye who gambled away £140,000 of money raised for her son's cancer treatment has been shown mercy by a judge.
Stacey Worsley walked free from court today after a judge heard how she had taken to gambling in desperation to raise the £200,000 needed to try to save his life.
Worsley was handed the suspended sentence when she appeared before Leeds Crown Court after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position.
The 32-year-old lost around £140,000 on online gambling site over a 14-month period between January 2017 and March last year.
Over a 12-day period in November 2017 she lost a sum of £20,000.
The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl, QC, told Worsley: "You chased your loses. You realised you had done more harm than good and I have no doubt that you thought in due course questions would be asked and you would be accountable for the money that was lost.
"This was a downward spiral and one that was doomed to fail."
Worsley, a nurse, wept in the dock and was hugged by relatives in the courtroom after the judge imposed a two-year sentence, suspended for two years.
The judge said: "No one can fail to be moved by your story."
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Describing the affect of her offending, he said: "This will inevitably have an impact on all of those who donated money.
"Let alone those who gave their time and effort at fundraising events.
"They will all feel betrayed by you dishonesty.
"I am afraid it will have a detrimental affect on the them."
"These were difficult and testing times for your entire family.
"You had been suffering from depression since January 2018 from looking after Toby.
"You are said by others to be trustworthy but you were not through this entire year.
"You are otherwise caring and kind hearted, moral and sensible."
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Toby was diagnosed with rare cancer neuroblastoma on his fourth birthday in January 2017.
The youngster's family launched an appeal to raise £200,000 to pay for therapy which was not available on the NHS.
The fundraising target was achieved with huge support from Leeds United.
Early testing after treatment showed his bone marrow was clear of cancer.
Tragically he was then diagnosed with a brain tumour and died on January 12, 2019.
Worsley, 32, of Osmondthorpe, Leeds, pleaded guilty after the fraud charge was put to her by the court clerk.
The full details of the charge were: "Stacey Worsley, between January 2, 2017, and March 30, 2018, you committed fraud in that, dishonestly and intending thereby to make a gain for yourself or another, or to cause loss to another, or to expose another to the risk of loss, abused her position as a trustee in respect of monies donated for the treatment of Toby Nye, in which she was expected to safeguard or not take against the financial interests of the said Toby Nye, by using approximately £140,700 of such monies for her own purposes, in breach of Section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006."
A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: "As part of the investigation, police have secured the return of all of the money involved with a view to the majority being used to support an identical local good cause, which is yet to be decided on, and an amount being redistributed to identified key donors.
"At no point did the fraud affect the child’s medical treatment, which was funded separately."
A spokesperson for Leeds United said: "We can confirm that all money raised by supporters, players and staff of Leeds Untied during our Toby Nye campaign was ring-fenced by the club and used to pay for Toby's treatment."