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Catholic cemetery official admits fraud

todaySeptember 1, 2017 11

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Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how William Henderson sold bereaved families spaces at Mount Vernon Cemetery in Edinburgh which were reserved, already used or otherwise unavailable.

The 46-year-old pleaded guilty on Thursday to a single count of fraud. He was involved in 13 instances of fraud between 2006 and 2015 totalling £14,000.

Sheriff Donald Corke told Mr Henderson: “This is clearly a very serious matter and you should be aware that although all options are available to the court, custody is the most likely outcome.”

Mr Henderson, who is due to be sentenced on 29th September, altered official records in order to support his fraudulent activities.

Dr Elspeth Atkinson from the diocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh said: “The archdiocese deeply regrets the criminal activities of Willie Henderson and has been working hard over the past months to offer both pastoral and practical support to those families affected by his actions and we will, of course, continue to do so in the months to come.”

The Catholic Church said it welcomed the conviction of Mr Henderson who was employed at the cemetery the Liberton area of Edinburgh between 1997 and 2015. The Church has had to bear the financial losses stemming from Mr Henderson’s activities.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Grainger from Police Scotland said: “William Henderson targeted vulnerable families when they were grieving and distressed.

“He offered them plots within Mount Vernon Cemetery, when no such sites were available, for his own individual financial gain.”

A former Catholic cemetery official has admitted fraudulently miss-selling burial plots, leaving his archdiocese thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Written by: Miriam Emenike

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