Policeman 'swindled elderly woman'

AN ESSEX policeman swindled an elderly spinster out of £270,000 and spent the money on sports cars, a foreign holiday and other luxuries, a court heard.

AN ESSEX policeman swindled an elderly spinster out of £270,000 and spent the money on sports cars, a foreign holiday and other luxuries, a court heard.

Pc John Morgan, from Frinton, befriended Joan Harping, 89, while he was working for the Metropolitan Police.

Over three years he allegedly took over her savings and sold her £200,000 home and used some of the money to buy a Rolex watch, Audi TT and a VW Golf, Basildon Crown Court was told yesterday.

Pc Morgan, 47, and his wife, Eunice, deny 15 charges of obtaining money transfers by deception. He also denies three charges of forgery and one count of using a false instrument.

Pc Morgan told police that Miss Harping, 89, had said the money was a “present” and that the price of the gift “was up to him”.

Jurors have heard that the officer and his wife bought a sheltered flat for Miss Harping and then used her money to pay off their credit card debts.

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Prosecutor David Walbank told the court: “The Morgans were living beyond their means and were using Miss Harping's money to do so.” He said they were “awash with cash”.

Pc Morgan befriended Miss Harping when he visited her home in Palmers Green, north London, after it was thought she had fallen victim to a conman builder, the court heard.

The spinster was in hospital after she had a stroke and the court was told that Pc Morgan encouraged her to sell her home.

The jury heard that the money for the home was eventually paid into a joint account for which the police officer was a signatory. Pc Morgan, who transferred to Essex to work at Clacton Police Station, was also given power of attorney, which he used to set up other accounts in his name.

When he and his 50-year-old wife were arrested and their home raided in May 2004, Miss Harping, who now lives in a care home in Frinton, had £6,000 left to her name.

The court heard that the Morgans bought several expensive items during their three-year friendship with Miss Harping, including a computer worth £1,297, hi-fi goods worth more than £1,000, a holiday to Ibiza for £1,592, a Rolex watch for £2,350, a kayak for just under £300 and a mountain bike for about £200.

They had also bought a Saab convertible for £18,155, a Golf GTI for £7,185, an Audi TT roadster for £28,899, a Golf GTI for £4,385, and a Land Rover Discovery for £1,857.

The court heard that when Pc Morgan was interviewed he submitted a statement in which he said that Miss Harping had given him her consent to look after her assets and told police he was “acting in her best interests”.

When asked about the items the couple had bought, Mr Walbank said: “He (Pc Morgan) said they were presents from Miss Harping and said that she had left the choice of gift and the price of gift up to him.”

However, Mr Walbank said that Miss Harping told police she had no idea her money was being used in this way.

When interviewed she said that Pc Morgan “gave her a lot of papers to sign” and added: “I just trusted him you see. He was going to look after everything.”

When officers told Miss Harping about the Rolex watch, she replied: “The saucy thing.”

And when asked whether she had allowed Pc Morgan to transfer £201,000 into a joint account, she replied: “Well I never. He never used to say anything like that. He just said he would look after me.”

Asked if she knew what a power of attorney was, Mr Walbank said that Miss Harping did not appear to understand and had replied: “Something to do with the judges or something.”

The case continues.

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