A mother from Nottingham whose young son had cancer has told a court she closed an appeal fund set up to help him after she became concerned the venture was a scam.
Kim Robertson, from the Meadows, was giving evidence in the trial of Kevin Wright at Nottingham Crown Court.
Miss Robertson's son, Armani, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer which affects the nerve cells, in 2007 when he was two years old.
She told the court she came into contact with Wright the following year after setting up a website about her son's condition. He told her he had a son, Bobby, with the same cancer. The jury heard that Wright offered to set up a fund called Marni's Appeal to pay for Armani to have specialist treatment at the Sloane Kettering Centre in New York. The target was £250,000.
Under questioning from the prosecution counsel, Nicholas Johnson QC, Miss Robertson said, "I was expecting it to save my son's life. I thought Marni was going to be OK."
The jury was told that Wright set up an appeal website and distributed 1,200 collection boxes around Nottingham. However, Miss Robertson said, when she asked him how the fundraising was going, he didn't want to answer. On one occasion, he said there were "only 1ps and 2ps in the boxes" and they had collected only £20,000.
Miss Robertson described how she began to lose trust in Wright in late 2008 when he discouraged her from going round collecting the boxes with him. He also told her he no longer thought it was a good idea for Armani to have the treatment in America, as it caused too much pain.
She told the jury she asked Wright to close down the appeal as she felt she was being scammed. She also called the police. Asked why she stopped the fund, she said, "Because I believed he [Wright] was conning me and using my son's name to raise money - money that we were never going to see."
The court was told that Armani is now in remission.
The trial has heard how Wright raised around £2 million for various cancer appeals including one for his own son, Bobby. The prosecution alleges that at least £250,000 of the money went into his own bank account.
Wright, from Tamworth, Staffs, denies eight counts of fraud and eleven of theft. The trial continues.