Xahra Saleem spent more than £30,000 in donations earmarked for charity to fund her lifestyle.
The 23-year-old activist helped mastermind the headline-grabbing BLM demo in Bristol during in June 2020 which saw slave trader Colston’s statue toppled and dumped in the harbour.
Saleem admitted fraud following a police investigation into a GoFundMe page called ‘BristBLM’ set up before the protest.
The BLM organiser received £32,344 in donations raised from 558 individual contributions. She went on to spend the money earmarked for local charities to fund her lifestyle – from her rent, hair and beauty appointments, and takeaways, to a new iPhone, iMac and Amazon purchases. Bristol Crown Court heard that she even splurged nearly £6,000 on Uber rides.
Saleem, of Romford, Essex, was jailed for two-and-a-half years at a sentencing hearing today.
Defending, Tom Edwards, said she was left ‘extremely sorry’ and said Saleem was only 20 when she was trusted with a very large amount of money and was living away from home for the first time.
She had also been drinking heavily and taking drugs at the time, and had mental health issues.
Xahra Saleem, 23, (pictured) pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by abuse of position following an investigation by Avon and Somerset Police into a GoFundMe page called ‘BristBLM’ set up ahead of the protest in Bristol in June 2020
BLM protesters later dragged the statue into the harbour, spray painted it and then threw it into the water