Olympic ceremony fraud dancer Stephen Moonesamy jailed

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Media captionDozens of dance pupils were led to believe they would perform at the Olympics

A dancer from Northampton who tricked dozens of children and teenagers into thinking they were part of the London 2012 closing ceremony has been jailed.

Stephen Moonesamy, 35, approached dance schools for help and appeared on radio stations to publicise the fictitious event, Northampton Crown Court heard.

He admitted fraud after 75 pupils, aged nine to 19, paid £60 each to take part.

Sentencing him to two years, Judge Sylvia De Bertodano said he had "dashed more hopes than Simon Cowell".

'Desperately excited'

Simon Ash, prosecuting, said Moonesamy told each dance school in December 2011 that he needed 25 children for the production.

Seventy-five were chosen from auditions and began rehearsals.

Image caption Stephen Moonesamy tricked 75 children

Several companies donated merchandise and he appeared on radio and television to publicise the project.

A 10-year-old child gave up the chance to join a vaulting squad and 16-year-old Nicoletta Winter, from Wellingborough, postponed an operation on her spine to take part, the court heard.

The fraud emerged when those involved contacted LOCOG and were told that Moonesamy had no connection with London 2012 or the closing ceremony.

'No winners'

Mr Ash said that when interviewed, Moonesamy accepted he had appeared authentic and that children had been "desperately excited".

Steven Evans, defending, said his client had hoped his enterprise would be included in the closing ceremony.

Ms De Bertodano said: "One can easily imagine the excitement of these children being told they have been chosen to dance and the Olympic ceremony, then the devastation that this once in a lifetime opportunity only ever existed in your imagination.

"In those months you raised and dashed more hopes than Simon Cowell, you made sure there were no winners at all.

"It's hard to imagine anything further removed from the Olympic spirit."

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