Prince Harry with soldier Dean Stott (right)
When Dean Stott embarked on his bid to break the record for cycling the length of South and North America, the former special forces soldier joked that his wife might divorce him if he didn’t get back to see their friend Prince Harry marry Meghan Markle.
He was spared any marital strife, however, when he completed the 14,000-mile journey from Argentina to Alaska in 99 days – 18 days less than the previous record – and attended the wedding at Windsor Castle in May.
But the 41-year-old veteran, who has raised £1 million for Harry’s Heads Together mental health charity, now faces claims that he ‘cheated’ by using fake documents to whisk his support team across borders and by riding more than one bike, in breach of the rules.
Sources say that during the early stages, Mr Stott used two bikes, one better suited to flat terrains and the other with lower gears to assist during hilly stages, claims he denies.
By the time they reached Mexico, relations between Mr Stott and his crew had become so bad that the team flew back to the UK after a series of rows over the faked papers and unpaid expenses.
Sources say that the 41-year-old veteran used fake documents to whisk his support team across borders and used two bikes, one better suited to flat terrains and the other with lower gears to assist during hilly stages, claims he denies
Simon Fagan, a solicitor acting for the support team, said: ‘The trip was organised by Mr Stott, his wife Alana and close friends.
‘It would appear that during the expedition they facilitated or instructed other team members to create documents needed to bring equipment and machinery across borders to prevent the challenge being delayed.
‘The actions of parties working with or for Mr Stott put our clients’ welfare at risk.
‘Had they been caught with illegal papers, they would have been arrested and almost certainly imprisoned.’
Mr Stott, a friend of Harry’s since they trained together in 2007, began the Pan-American Highway challenge in February, allegedly having moved the start date forward by a month to give himself a chance of making the Royal wedding.
In a personal video message to help raise sponsorship, Prince Harry told the former Special Boat Service commando: ‘This is a huge undertaking. But Dean, I have known you a long time and I know you can do it.’
Pictured: Dean Stott arrives at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with wife Alana
Cycling for up to 20 hours a day, Mr Stott was helped by a team of volunteers. They claim that they were told their expenses would be met but are owed £120,000.
Medic Paul Lawrenson said: ‘We were working for free and felt exploited as none of us were getting any media exposure. It was all just about Dean.’
Last night, Mr Stott admitted that ‘copied and pasted’ documents had been used during the challenge but said these only related to vehicles used by his support team.
Claims this aided his record attempt were ‘incorrect and misleading’, he added. ‘It is disappointing the huge positives that have come out of this are being overshadowed by unfounded claims,’ he said.