UK BLM co-founder pleads guilty to stealing £30,000 after launching statue of slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol River Frome

23-year-old Xahra Saleem, who co-founded UK BLM group All Black Lives Bristol, pleaded guilty to stealing £30,000 of donations to the group on September 19th, The Times reports.

The group was founded in 2020 to organize a protest surrounding George Floyd, with the statue of 17th-century merchant and slave trader Edward Colston being toppled and rolled into the River Frome on June 7, 2020.

Saleem started a GoFundMe prior to the protest to “cover the costs of the demonstration and pay for PPE to be handed out to protesters amid the Covid-19 pandemic.”

She had initially agreed to give the remaining money from the fundraiser to Changing Your Mindset, a youth organization that planned to use the funds to send young underprivileged people on a trip to Africa.

After repeatedly attempting to get the promised funds transferred, the group called the police, who opened an investigation into the BristBLM GoFundMe page.

After being arrested, Saleem initially pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud, but changed her plea on one charge last week ahead of her trial which was set to take place in December.

Police found two separate online fundraising pages from which money had vanished at the hands of Saleem. The second was called “Bristol Protesters Legal Fees.”

The first charge read that Saleem committed fraud “while occupying a position, namely organiser, in which you were expected to safeguard or not act against the financial interests of ABL Bristol… You dishonestly abused that position intending to make a gain, namely used the funds raised for yourself.”

The second charge alleged that Saleem failed to “safeguard or not act against the financial interests of” Changing Your Mindset, adding that she abused her director position to “make a gain” and that she “namely used the funds raised for yourself.”

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