A DEVON cricketer who won £300,000 gambling online blew it all and ended up raiding his own mother’s bank account to win back his losses, a court has been told.
Simon Edwards, 34, bought houses in Spain and the UK with his roulette winnings after picking up a gambling habit while on a cricket tour of Australia.
But his luck ran out and he defrauded his mother of £12,000 by setting up a fake Ladbrokes gambling account in her name.
The judge at Exeter Crown Court said Edwards deserved to go to prison for his ‘mean’ and ‘hurtful’ actions but spared him jail after his mum sent a letter saying she still loved him despite his betrayal.
Edwards, 34, of Hele Road, Torquay, admitted fraud.
The court was told he offence covered a six week period in October last year.
Edwards set up the fake account using his mum’s name
Felicity Payne, mitigating, said: “The background is of a young man who was a keen cricketer in quite a high capacity and played for Devon teams back in 2004. Owing to his cricketing success he toured to Australia.
“Aged 23, when out in Australia, others were involved with online gambling. That was the culture.
“He dabbled in it and got some enjoyment.”
Back home he was made redundant from his factory job and at a ‘low point in his life gave gambling another go’
“Initially it seems he was quite successful,” said Ms Payne.
“So successful that between 2005 and 2007 he won £300,000 with online roulette.
“This led him to have quite a good lifestyle and owning property here and in Spain.”
But she said it started to go wrong soon after.
“Luck turned against him,” said the barrister.
“He started to lose everything.”
Edwards began to borrow the money to keep gambling.
She told the court that Edwards’ father died in 2009 from a brain tumour.
Recorder Timothy Grice said he accepted Edwards had gone through difficulties but this did not excuse his ‘deliberate’ actions to ‘financially attack his mother’.
“In the end I’m not particularly interested in why he took the decision,” he said.
“This was the grossest possible breach of trust and family loyalty.
“He is almost placing the blame of the situation on people who aren’t Mr Edwards. It’s not quite good enough to say the opportunity presented itself and he took it. It isn’t the opportunity to blame or background it’s Mr Edwards.
“What I am looking for here is some acknowledgment that this is an appalling offence.”
Ms Payne said Edwards was disgusted by his behaviour but he wanted help with his addiction.
In a victim impact statement his mother said she was no longer speaking to her son.
She added: “He’s my son and I love him. This was not how he was brought up. He has made the wrong choices.”
She said she had been left ‘hurt’ and wanting to know ‘how and why’ it happened.
“He has to sort this for himself. He told me it was because he was drinking and needed to make some money.”
In 2013 Edwards was given a community order for transferring £3,500 from his mother’s account and using it to gamble online.
Recorder Grice said the forgiveness showed by Edwards’ mother had saved him from jail.
“You owe your mother a huge amount,” he said.
He handed the defendant an 18-month jail sentence suspended for two years.
He was also told to do 140 hours of unpaid work; sent on a thinking skills course and given 24 months supervision.
Read more: http://www.torquayheraldexpress.co.uk/Devon-cricketer-blames-sport-s-gambling-culture/story-27516034-detail/story.html#ixzz42Jyl1lms
Follow us: @TQHeraldExpress on Twitter | theheraldexpress on Facebook
Greaves, P . (2015). Top Devon cricketer blames sport’s ‘gambling culture’ after losing £300,000 Read more: http://www.torquayheraldexpress.co.uk/Devon-cricketer-blames-sport-s-gambling-culture/story-27516034-detail/stor. Available: http://www.torquayheraldexpress.co.uk/Devon-cricketer-blames-sport-s-gambling-culture/story-27516034-detail/story.html. Last accessed 8th March 2016.