A lowlife conman who swindled £1,000 from well-wishers by pretending to raise cash for a dying girl who did not exist has been jailed for six months.
Martin Heaver, 46, posed as a war hero and even bought a Paratrooper T-shirt and beret from eBay in order to give his “web of lies” more credibility.
Heaver asked people for sponsorship, saying he was going to do a series of sky-dives to raise money for a desperately ill five-year-old girl.
He claimed he wanted to raise enough cash to fulfill the girl’s dying wish to meet Mickey Mouse at Disneyland in Florida.
But the girl never existed and Heaver pocketed between £900 and £1,000 from around 100 unwitting well-wishers.
The father-of-four was jailed for six months at Lincoln Crown Court on Thursday after he admitted fraud.
Sentencing him, Judge Sean Morris described Heaver’s acts as “despicable”.
He told him: “You conned people into believing you were raising money for a little girl to send her to Florida to see Mickey Mouse, presumably, before she passed away.
“I can’t think of anything as low as that.
“The sentence will seem very low as I’m obliged to follow the guidelines.
“Frauds such as these will make people sceptical about giving and in these hard times people need charities.”
The court heard Heaver, from Grantham, Lincs., approached factory workers telling them he was fundraising for a little girl from Waltham on the Wolds in the Vale of Belvoir, on the Nottinghamshire Lincolnshire border.
He said she knew she was terminally ill but wanted to meet Mickey Mouse before she died.
Matthew Lowe, prosecuting, said: “There was no five-year-old girl who was terminally-ill, there were no parachute jumps and the money he obtained ended up in his own pocket.
“One of the locations he went to for sponsorship was a factory in Kettleby in Melton Mowbray where one supposes those providing money were not on huge salaries.
“He indicated her dying wish was to see Mickey Mouse and he wanted to raise funds to enable her to do that.”
Heaver was described in court by his defence as a “Walter Mitty” character.
He had previously received a 14-week suspended prison sentence in 2004 for stealing #12,000 from his then employer, G4S.