(For major update, see foot of article, including editorial notice)
EXCLUSIVE: It has emerged that a 16 year old teenager, who was a former friend of Charlotte Baron who passed away on the 20th of February 2016, had stolen money from a fundraiser to buy himself a new phone.
Charlotte’s foster sister, Sophie Jane Smith disclosed that, out of £700 raised at a remembrance event held for Charlotte, the schoolboy took £181.35 for himself to buy a new phone. The money was originally to buy Charlotte a new headstone at her grave.
Speaking of her reaction to the news, Sophie said, “I have seriously regretted taking him to her funeral and standing up for him”, later adding, “We’re all disgusted as we trusted him so much, especially me”.
The event was held at a venue in Rochdale on the 30th April from 3pm until 8pm and saw many of Charlotte’s friends and family turn up to remember her. The venue raised £700 total, of which £160 was paid for bouncer fees, £258.65 was paid to Charlotte’s family and £181.35 was kept by the teen for himself.
It was later admitted by the teen that he had spent this money on a new phone for himself, stating, “My phone broke and I had to replace it”. When confronted on why, he replied, “I didn’t expect to have to give the money [to the family] so soon”. It has since emerged that the teen repaid the family the full cost soon after.
Organisers at the venue paid the teenagers grandmother a check for the total raised, with the belief that it would go straight to Charlotte’s family. Upon finding out, organiser Lawrence Mitchell described himself as being “miffed about what he’s done”.
Adam Gray, who played live at the event, said, “We donated half of the profits from t-shirt sales to the cause”, later adding, “It not only fills you with disgust, but also shame. I’m appalled”.
Friends of Charlotte have now created a new JustGiving page to raise funds for a headstone for Charlotte which has raised over £160 so far.
An inquest into Charlottes death was adjourned, due to proceed on 27th July.
The family of the teenager in question have since notified me that the police are involved, and thus, I have removed his name. The boy has since paid the family back and is working on rectifying all further issues.
Editors Notice: I do not advocate the personal attacks of the teenager in question, whether you know his name, or not. We all make mistakes – some worse than others. However, we all deserve redemption. He has rectified the issue with the family, and as such, the issue is no longer in effect. Any such attacks are harassment, and can result in legal action. So please, refrain from attacks. We are all entitled to freedom of expression, but not at the direct expense of others. I do not advocate, or condone, any such attacks at all. We all must act as responsible, sensible individuals through this time and respect his safety and integrity.
– Benjamin John Wareing