Fundraising page for Calne crash victims might have been set up by fraudsters

  • Watch Caron Bell's report.

A fundraising page in memory of four young Wiltshire men who were killed when a car crashed into a house could have been set up by fraudsters, police say.

Officers from Wiltshire Police are investigating the suspected fraud and are warning anyone who donated money to the page could be a victim.

In August, Ryan Nelson, 20, Corey Owen, 19, Matthew Parke, 19, and Jordan Rawlings, 20, were killed when the car they were in crashed into a house at Derry Hill and burst into flames.

A GoFundMe page was set up to pay tribute to the men, who died at the scene.

The page, called "Jordan, Corey, Matt, Ryan Memorial" was launched shortly after, but was not set up by any of the four families.

Now police believe it could be fraudulent and are trying to track everyone who donated.

Hundreds of people from the community left flowers at the scene of the tragic incident.

Officers have arrested three people as part of their ongoing investigation.

On 22 October they detained a 32-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy in the Northamptonshire area on suspicion of fraud by false representation.

On 2 December they returned to that area and arrested a 36-year-old man.

They also found Class A drugs at his house and arrested him on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

All three have been released under investigation.

Inspector James Brain, from Chippenham Area Community Policing Team, said:

"The collision back in August was truly devastating for the local community in Calne and I know many people will have seen this fundraising page as an opportunity to show how much they cared and to ensure that a lasting memorial to the four young men was created for the town.

“I understand that people may be feeling upset and angry about this news, but I want to reassure everyone that we are carrying out detailed enquiries to understand exactly what has happened with regards to this donation page.”

Police are asking anyone who made a donation to the page to call the force on 101, quoting crime reference 54200119835.

The families of Corey Owen, Jordan Rawlings, Matthew Parke and Ryan Nelson have set up a Justgiving page to pay for a 'lasting memorial'. Credit: Victims' families

The families of the four victims have now set up an official fundraising page to raise £8,000 for a 'fitting and permanent' memorial to the young men.

Amanda Parke, whose son Matthew was one of the victims, said: "We the families are devastated to have lost our beautiful, precious boys.

"When the Go Fund Me campaign was set up, we took great comfort from the fact that the kind-hearted and caring people of our community wanted to contribute to the cost of having a permanent memorial for our sons.

"We were heartbroken to then discover that this fund was fraudulent.

"We want the memory of our sons to live on, and we so want a permanent memorial in our town - where we, our families, the very many friends of the boys and anyone who knew them can go to pay our respects and reflect on our many happy memories of them."

The fund has been sanctioned by all the families of the young men. It has been set up by Amanda Parke's close friend Su Johnson and the beneficiary will be Robert Merrick, the Mayor of Calne, who will then work with all the families to find a fitting and permanent memorial.

Find out more about the families' fundraising campaign here.