Stranger gives free tickets to cancer battler after online scam

Stranger gives free tickets to cancer battler after online scam

5 December 2018

A KIND-HEARTED stranger came to the aid of a Portaferry cancer survivor and her partner by giving them free tickets to last weekend’s Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton.

Kerry Shields thought her Anfield experience was lost after she discovered she had been duped in an online scam.

The 45 year-old had saved for a year to buy two VIP package tickets for Sunday’s game as a special birthday treat for her partner Paul Mageean, a lifelong Liverpool fan.

It was the highlight of a three-night break also for herself to mark the completion of surgery and radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer which she was diagnosed with in May.

Despite striking up an ‘online rapport’ with the supposed seller, the tickets costing £370 never materialised.

Once her plight was highlighted to the football fraternity here and in Liverpool, an English-based event promoter contacted the couple through Newcastle man Karl McGookin to offer them tickets for the game.

“There are so many kind people out there,” said Kerry as she and Paul returned home on Monday after a short break which them saw the Reds sneak a 1-0 win thanks to a last-minute stoppage time goal.

“A lovely guy from Liverpool, Simon Barton from SW Sports and Music Events, came forward with two tickets for us in the main stand. He got in touch after Karl contacted him. 

“He said right away that he would give us two tickets free of charge. It was a brilliant game and all the better as Liverpool won.

“While I bought the tickets for Paul, as he had always wanted to go to Anfield, I also did it for us to have a break together. It has been absolutely brilliant.”

The couple were also inundated with offers of help from several other individuals who also came forward to offer tickets. One woman even went as far as to offer them a Manchester United season ticket — something the couple politely declined.

“There are an awful lot of nice people out there who were willing to help us out. We’re not Manchester United fans but it just shows how everybody was coming forward to help,” added Kerry.

Kerry also paid tribute to local coach driver Paddy Trainor who spent three days last week ringing all of his contacts to see if he could have secured tickets for them. 

She has reported the fraud to police and now believes she was a victim of a man who had stolen the identity of another man he also duped with ticket sales.

Kerry only realised that something had gone badly wrong when 10 days before the match, her tickets had not materialised and her seller had stopped answering any of her texts or messages.

She explained: “The police have said that it’s going to be a really long process to track the fraudster down as he has stolen the identity of a CEO in Liverpool, who was scammed himself.

“This man is a big boss of a company in Liverpool and thought he had bought tickets for the Champions League game in Kiev in March. Now his name is being tarnished by this fraudster. 

“He was scammed out of £600 and he gave over his ID to him. Consequently the scammer has used his ID to con other people like me.

“I’ve never really bought football tickets before but now I know that they were at a cheap price so that should have alerted me had I been more experienced.”

Despite all that had happened, the couple — who share six children between them — managed to enjoy their well-earned break.

“While the Liverpool game was the main part of our trip, after crossing over with Stenaline, we also made sure to stop at Greta Green in Scotland for a night as we both wanted to visit the famous village,” said Kerry.

“And what also topped off the trip for us was that we went to the Emmerdale studio tour in Leeds and Paul even got to pour a pint at the Woolpack. “