David Bradford, 64, has spent years living a secret double life.
On April 11, 2014, everything fell apart when, on his wife’s birthday, David, a father of three, was jailed for fraud.
He had hidden his gambling problem from his family, even when he went to court, stole £ 50,000 from his employers, racking up loans and £ 500,000 in debt and remortgage the house.
His wife, Denise, and his three sons Alex, Ryan and Adam, found out what was going on thanks to a lawyer who called them to say that David had been jailed at Mold Crown Court.
David, who lost his £ 70,000 a year job as a financial controller, served eight months before his release from HMP Altcourse in Liverpool in November.
When he was released from prison, the father knew he wanted to make a difference.
He and his son Adam, 28, spent two years developing the BetProtect app, to help people gamble sensibly and prevent other gambling addicts from having their lives torn apart.
Adam said, “This is a new lease of life for daddy and a path to redemption.
“Even the past seven years since Dad was released from prison has been very difficult for our family, but the terrible impact on us has been the inspiration for our work with industry to provide an extra layer of support for those at risk. .
“Dad said, ‘I really want to try to do something to stop people from getting addicted to drugs.’
“This will now be his long-standing job – to make a difference and turn our negative experiences into something positive for others.
“The goal of the app is for a lot of help to appear on players’ screens to educate them early before they need treatment and get into huge debt or, in some cases, commit suicide.
“They can hear advice from counselors anonymously and get a lot of information without having to go to counseling sessions.
“Daddy said if it had been there for him, it might very well have saved him.” In fact, he never thought he had a problem with his gambling and just thought he was a little bit useless with the money.
“He even made a bet on the day of his trial! He didn’t realize he had a problem until the judge told him.
Along with the app, the duo set up a service called Safer Online Gambling Group.
The app aims to be a way to reach addicts when they are most at risk, giving them information on ‘take a break’ so they can take a break and get help.
When a gamer appears to be at risk, the app provides information, videos, podcasts and digital tools such as a journal, with advice from specialist therapists, counselors and others who have suffered from gambling. .
It is also linked to a helpline and clinics.
Father and son want to share their story to raise awareness of how gambling addiction can affect your life.
Adam said: “When dad got out of jail he had a hard time finding a job. At one point, he signed up as a freelance delivery guy driving 100 hours a week to make ends meet, and he tried to redeem himself from those he had let down.
“While in prison I had to pay off his debts and make a plan to keep the house that we still pay off.
“Two days after his incarceration, we received a quick 30-second phone call – whatever he could – after making the front page of the local newspaper. He was really sorry, but a shadow of himself.
“I’ll never forget that my mom didn’t want to talk to her and handed me the phone. All I said was “What’s your email password?” “And” Where are all the invoices kept and what happens next? Because I had to sort out the huge mess he had left us.
“Mom used to visit him in prison, but most of the time she was very angry with him. The future she thought she had was suddenly destroyed.
“She felt betrayed, but we learned it wasn’t betrayal – he just wanted to do what was best for his family, but when his debts grew he tried to get the money back for him. us and lost more.
“Now our sanity and our struggles have been collateral damage.
“And that’s why we all work so hard to build this safety net to catch and save others.”
Ryan added, “Every day after dad was jailed was spent wondering how we were going to cover the mortgage and hold up the debt collectors. Every day has been spent worrying about living on the streets due to the threat of homelessness.
“Every day was a horrible new experience that led to my personal depression, followed by countless sleepless nights, arguments and so much stress.”
David thinks that if the app had existed while he was at its lowest, he might not have ended up in jail.
“Since I never believed I had a gambling problem, I never asked for help in any form,” the father said. “Upon reflection, I needed an intervention from a reliable source.”
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