Policeman jailed for conning woman

A FORMER policeman who conned an elderly woman out of nearly £280,000 after meeting her during an inquiry has been jailed for four years.John Morgan, 48, lived lavishly after fleecing 89-year-old Joan Harpin over a three-year period while he was a police constable.

A FORMER policeman who conned an elderly woman out of nearly £280,000 after meeting her during an inquiry has been jailed for four years.

John Morgan, 48, lived lavishly after fleecing 89-year-old Joan Harpin over a three-year period while he was a police constable.

Following a trial at Basildon Crown Court earlier this month, Morgan was convicted of obtaining money by deception and forgery.

Morgan, of Upper Third Avenue, Frinton, who resigned after being arrested, denied any wrongdoing.


You may also want to watch:


Judge Christopher Mitchell said Morgan had viewed Miss Harpin as a “goose who laid golden eggs”.

“(She was) a timid, retiring spinster,” said the judge. “You gained her confidence ... the jury came to the conclusion that you behaved deceitfully and dishonestly.”

Most Read

He added: “You were a man who as far as she was concerned had a degree of affection for her ... but at the same time you were quite prepared to fleece her when it suited you.”

The judge went on: “People trusted you implicitly because of your position (as a policeman). Joan Harpin was vulnerable because of her age, health and general mental capacity.

“This is a case where the only sentence must be one of a period of substantial imprisonment.”

Prosecutors told the court Morgan was working for the Metropolitan Police five years ago when he met Miss Harpin, who now lives in a care home in Holland-on-Sea.

They alleged that over a three-year period Morgan, who later transferred to Essex police, stole the pensioner's savings and sold her home in Palmers Green, north London.

David Walbank, prosecuting, told jurors Morgan used Miss Harpin's money to pay off credit card debts, and buy goods including a Rolex watch and Audi TT and VW Golf cars.

He told the jury of seven women and five men that Morgan and his wife Eunice, 50, “were awash with cash” after striking up a friendship with Miss Harpin.

Mr Walbank told jurors how Morgan met Miss Harpin in 2001 when he visited her in Palmers Green during an investigation into allegations that she had fallen victim to a conman builder.

He had befriended her and encouraged her to sell her home after she became ill.

The money from the sale of the house was paid into a joint account for which the signatories were Miss Harpin and Morgan.

Morgan was also given power of attorney, which he used to set up other accounts in his name, prosecutors alleged.

He told detectives Miss Harpin had given him consent to look after her assets. He said he was “acting in her best interests” jurors heard.

Morgan said goods he had bought were presents from Miss Harpin.

But Mr Walbank said Miss Harpin had no idea her money was being used in such a fashion.

She told police that Morgan “gave her a lot of papers to sign” and added: “I just trusted him you see. He was going to look after everything.”

Detective Sergeant Angie Garrard, who led the investigation, said Morgan was “evil”.

She said police had clawed back £170,000 from Morgan and attempts to regain more would continue.

“People like John Morgan are motivated by greed,” she added. “He used Miss Harpin's money to fund a lavish lifestyle and was investing her money into cars, expensive jewellery and was living way above the means of a normal police officer.”

Eunice Morgan was also charged with a string of offences but was cleared of any wrongdoing in March after a judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence against her.

Last night she declined to make any comment from her Frinton home.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter