A fraudster who tricked eBay users into bidding for a walking stick which he said belonged to the late Queen has been sentenced.
Dru Marshall, 26 and now of Romsey, claimed to be a senior footman at Windsor Castle when he listed an "antler walking stick" for sale through an online auction.
It was listed for sale just one week after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died in September 2022.
The eBay listing said the Queen used the stick in her final years “as she struggled with her mobility” and dishonestly claimed the money raised would go to Cancer Research UK.
People had bid up to £540 when Marshall quickly closed the listing after discovering Thames Valley Police were investigating the scam.
Julie Macey, senior crown prosecutor for CPS Wessex, said: “Dru Marshall used the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to try and hoodwink the public with a fake charity auction – fuelled by greed and a desire for attention.
“Marshall’s scheme was ultimately foiled before he could successfully con any unsuspecting victims – and the CPS will continue to work hand-in-glove with law enforcement to bring fraudsters to justice.”
He pleaded not guilty to fraud by false representation, claiming the venture was not a scam - but a joke made in bad taste and later a social experiment to see how much attention his post would receive.
Prosecutors used extensive computer evidence to secure a conviction against Marshall.
He claimed his account had been hacked by a friend in Spain, but prosecutors debunked this by using Marshall’s online search history to show his intent to defraud potential victims by finding the terms "the Queen" and "how to delete an eBay listing".
Marshall was sentenced to a 12-month Community Order on Monday 8 January at Southampton Magistrates Court.
He was also ordered to complete 40 hours of unpaid work.
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