Mother who stole £1,000 in fake crowdfunding appeals is jailed

Mother, 26, ‘with animal cunning’ who raised £1,000 for grieving parents in fake crowdfunding appeals before making off with the money is jailed for 27 months

  • Chanel Bailey of Lenton, was jailed for 27 months for setting up fake fundraisers
  • She would target grieving parents and pretend to be raising money for them
  • The mother, 26, would withdraw the money for herself and close the fundraiser

A ‘manipulative’ woman raised £1,000 in memory of a baby girl only to disappear and keep the money for herself.

Chanel Bailey, of Martinmass Close, Lenton, was jailed for 27 months at Nottingham Crown Court, for creating fake fundraisers for two different sets of grieving parents.

The 26-year-old defrauded Natalie Thompson out of £1,000 following the death of her premature baby.

They became friends after both giving birth to their children in the same hospital.

Miss Thompson 32, of Bingham, told Nottinghamshire Live, her daughter Sofia Blackner was born with complications to her bowels after being born prematurely at 25 weeks and six days.

Chanel Bailey (pictured), 26, who raised £1,000 in memory of a baby girl but then made off with the money has been jailed for 27 months

Ben Blackner and his partner, Natalie Thompson, were targeted by Bailey, who set up a fundraiser without their knowledge and kept the near £1,000

After nearly three months, Miss Thompson and her partner Ben Blackner, 37, received the devastating news that there was nothing medics could do for Sofia.

‘We took the decision to turn everything off,’ explained Natalie, who attended court with her partner.

Bailey set up a JustGiving page to pay for a headstone, without Miss Thompson’s permission, and friends and family donated £935.

On the day of Sofia’s funeral the couple learned Bailey, who the court heard has relatively low intellectual functioning, had closed the page and taken the money.

‘I can’t stand her,’ said Miss Thompson. ‘I am absolutely disgusted’.

Bailey, who attended court with her support worker, is in supported accommodation and control over her own finances is limited.

Sofia Blackner (pictured) died when she was nearly 12 weeks old

She also targeted Carla Dawson out of the blue via Facebook as her two-year-old daughter Jorja-Rose battled a brain tumour, which would eventually claim her life.

Bailey visited the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, to sit in the ward where Jorja-Rose was, falsely claiming to be family of Mrs Dawson – the distraught family told her to leave.

Then a local pub organised a sponsored walk to raise funds for Jorja-Rose.

Posing as her aunt Bailey said she would take part and collect money for a sponsored head shave she was doing.

Prosecutor Joey Kwong said Bailey, who stole £100 from the charity event, never had her head shaved.

After the pub fundraiser, she returned home to an assisted living project with shopping bags and said she wanted a takeaway – things Bailey could not afford on her allowance.

When Jorja-Rose died, Mrs Dawson, of Hempshill Vale, posted a picture of her on Facebook.

Bailey copied this and posted it on her Facebook page, which left Mrs Dawson feeling ‘sick’ as she grieved her beloved child.

Mrs Dawson said after Bailey was sentenced: ‘I am relieved she has gone to jail. I feel I was so naïve. She contacted me on Facebook. Lots of people warned me about her. She even turned up at the hospital.

‘I didn’t really know her. She told people she was Jorja-Rose’s aunt. She revelled in the attention.’

Judge Stuart Rafferty QC sentenced Bailey to nine months for theft and 18 months consecutively for the fraud, offences which were previously admitted.

He said she had latched on to people who had suffered enormous loss and he sentenced her on the basis, ‘That you have animal cunning; that you targeted these vulnerable women, knowing them to be vulnerable and knowing more than most people they were vulnerable’.

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