Haverhill/Bury St Edmunds: Senior clergyman, Ian Finn, claims he has done “nothing criminally wrong” after being charged with defrauding a church of more than £13,000

Ian Finn (pictured) has been charged with defrauding his church out of more than �13,000.

Ian Finn (pictured) has been charged with defrauding his church out of more than �13,000. - Credit: Gregg Brown

A senior clergyman has said he is “entirely innocent” as he faces charges of defrauding a Suffolk church of more than £13,000 over a seven year period.

Ian Finn has been charged with defrauding his church out of more than �13,000. Ian Finn (centre with

Ian Finn has been charged with defrauding his church out of more than �13,000. Ian Finn (centre with blue tie) pictured here with supporters outside West Suffolk Magistrates' Court. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Ian Finn, 55, of Hopton Rise, Haverhill, appeared before West Suffolk Magistrates’ Court this afternoon where he pleaded not guilty.

In February, Finn, an honorary canon at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, was put on extended leave from his job as parish rector while alleged financial irregularities at his church were investigated.

His case will now be heard at Ipswich Crown Court. An initial case management hearing in Ipswich will take place on October 2 from 10am.

He spoke after the hearing in Bury where he was surrounded by his supporters. He said: “I am entirely innocent of these charges.

“I have done nothing criminally wrong and I am confident a jury will clear me of any wrong doing.

“The last few months have been a dreadful ordeal and I am grateful to all the friends who are supporting me and share my belied that I am innocent.

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“I am sure you will appreciate it would not be appropriate for me to go into detail about the case with further court hearings pending.”

Between June 2007 and March this year Finn is alleged to have dishonestly abused his position to defraud St Mary The Virgin Church, in Haverhill, out of £13,204 in church service fees.

One of Finn’s supporters, Richard Evans, 61, of Stansfield, defended him. He said: “I know him because he was our parish priest for a number of years; there is no way in the world that he is guilty of anything criminal.

“I do not know all the details of the case which will come out in time but he would not have all the people here if we were in any doubt. He has been through a dreadful time.”

Finn was given unconditional bail. The “trial window” at Ipswich Crown Court for the case is between February 2 and March 13 next year.

Before his role in Haverhill, Finn worked in the Benefice of Bansfield in west Suffolk.

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