Knives activist Kayleigh Pepper charged with fraud against her own charity

A woman who led a high-profile campaign to tackle knife crime after her brother was brutally stabbed to death in Hull has appeared in court charged with pocketing money from her own charity.

Kayleigh Pepper is accused of defrauding the Rich Foundation with a significant sum of money over a period of four years from its launch in 2016, shortly after her brother Rich was killed.

Ms. Pepper has made local and national headlines after establishing the Rich Foundation in memory of her brother and helping to raise funds to help families and victims of crime.

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She joined a Hull Live No More Knives initiative to raise awareness about knives and end knife crime.

Anti-knife activist Kayleigh Pepper of Hull appeared in court accused of defrauding the Rich Foundation set up on behalf of her late brother

But Pepper, 35, of Albert Avenue, Hull, appeared in court for fraud involving the Rich Foundation – an unregistered charity created in memory of his brother Richard Pepper after he was fatally stabbed in the east of Hull at the age of 25.

Ms Pepper is accused of fraud by abusing her position as a trustee of the Rich Foundation for profit by using her money for her own purposes between July 1, 2016 and April 9 of last year.

Pepper appeared in Hull Crown Court as Kayleigh Towler and the case was adjourned.

No plea was taken because Pepper’s attorney, Nigel Clive, had not been notified of the hearing and had already left the court.

His colleague, Stephen Robinson, told the court: “I am here to apologize for what happened today.

“My firm’s lawyer was educated but unfortunately this case was missed by our office staff on the list and not placed in their bin.

“He is long gone today and cannot be contacted. This is a significant case of fraud.

“I haven’t had a chance to review the case and apologize to the court.”

Kayleigh Pepper at the launch of an anti-knife campaign in Hull
Kayleigh Pepper at the launch of an anti-knife campaign in Hull

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Pepper no longer lived in Hull and had “walked some distance today,” Robinson said.

Prosecutor Felicity Hemlin said an updated case summary, with more details on the issues at hand, will be prepared.

Judge David Tremberg told Pepper: “I’m sorry we couldn’t move forward. It was hoped that the purpose of today’s hearing would be to identify what your plea would be and resume the case of ‘one way or another.

“Unfortunately, there seems to be some confusion and your lawyer is not here. You are going to have to see him.”

Pepper wore a thick green coat with a hood, black pants, and black shoes.

When leaving the yard with her father, she put on a big yellow cap and had a big black bag with her.

It was confirmed in court that Kayleigh Pepper and Kayleigh Towler are the same person.

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Pepper started the Rich Foundation after his brother Richard, 25, known as Rich, was stabbed to death in a shocking street attack on Egton Street in east Hull in 2015.

The man who dealt the fatal blow to Rich’s heart, Daniel Flatley, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for manslaughter.

Pepper had become a leading anti-knife activist and spoke earlier this year after Corey Dobbe’s tragic death in Hull.

Pepper had called on the people of Hull to take knife crime seriously and wanted Corey’s family to see justice.

She led Hull Live’s No More Knives campaign to educate people about the dangers of carrying knives and she did so in memory of her brother. The campaign was supported by Humberside Police.

She said at the time: “Rich was a big boy, over 6 feet tall and weighing about 18 stones, but a stab wound ended his life.

“The blade tore several organs, nearly cracking his eighth rib, and ultimately stabbed his heart. The wound caused so much internal damage that he had five complete blood transfusions.

“The hole in his heart was finally mended but it was too late. He was pronounced dead, leaving us heartbroken.”

Kayleigh Pepper appeared in court charged with fraud
Kayleigh Pepper appeared in court charged with fraud

She asked on Facebook, “What will it take for people to take knife crime seriously?”

“How many families still have to suffer? How much suffering must loved ones still endure?

“We have missed six years and it has never been easier. Our hearts hurt more and more every day.”

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