Vicar lied about hundreds of funerals to steal £100000 from church before

first_img“I take the view that there comes a time in a man’s life when you are entitled to say ‘measure the good I have done against the harm I have done’.”I have no doubt the good you have done in the community, and continue to do, outweighs the harm you have done.”Outside court the Archdeacon of Liverpool, Venerable Ricky Panter, said he believed that “justice has been done”.He said: “Clergy are rightly expected to demonstrate a high level of honesty and trustworthiness, both as a duty to the Bishop and as a responsibility to their parishioners. To break that trust has inevitable and far-reaching consequences.”The money Michael Fry obtained was for funeral fees which he was not entitled to keep but should have passed to our diocese. This was a despicable offence. It’s hard to believe that anyone would stoop so lowInvestigating officer Detective Constable Tony Read The money Michael Fry obtained was for funeral fees, which he was not entitled to keepArchdeacon of Liverpool, Venerable Ricky Panter “We do not believe that any of the families were defrauded, indeed we are aware that Michael often conducted funerals with care and sensitivity.”Investigating officer Detective Constable Tony Read said: “This was a despicable offence. It’s hard to believe that anyone would stoop so low as to keep the money given in good faith by families grieving a loved one, when they clearly anticipated that money would go to the diocese.”The diocese put their trust in Fry to do his job in an honourable way and they understandably felt sorely let down by his actions. This money could and should have been used by the church, but instead has been spent by Fry on himself.” The matter was passed to police and Fry accepted he lied about how many funerals he had conducted, Liverpool Crown Court heard.Previously concerns had been raised within the diocese about his excessive drinking and “rumours of inappropriate behaviour”.Simon Duncan, prosecuting, said that in one police interview Fry told detectives he spent the fees on “drink, travel, books for the garden and even a payment to the organist”.He pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to eight counts of theft totalling £107,673, although the figure was an estimate because of the lack of record keeping.Fry was sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years, with the judge telling him his good work for society outweighed the harm he caused.last_img

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