Vicar's wife jailed for theft
A VICAR'S wife is todaystarting a 12 month jail sentence for stealing more then £150,000 from her employers.Tracey Morgan, 43, of Ancaster Road, Ipswich, whose husband is the Rev Ian Morgan, yesterdayadmitted seven charges of theft totalling £10,000 and asked for 181 offences involving £152,400 to be considered by the court.
A VICAR'S wife is todaystarting a 12 month jail sentence for stealing more then £150,000 from her employers.
Tracey Morgan, 43, of Ancaster Road, Ipswich, whose husband is the Rev Ian Morgan, yesterdayadmitted seven charges of theft totalling £10,000 and asked for 181 offences involving £152,400 to be considered by the court.
Peter Gair, prosecuting, told Ipswich Crown Court the thefts were over an eight year period from 1995 to 2003, while she was employed by Boulter Buderus Limited, formerly called Boulter Boilers Limited, of White House Road, Ipswich.
Morgan was employed as an office manager and personnel manager and had been with company since 1991. This meant she had access to the company's bank account and was an authorised signatory to cheques.
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The money was stolen by paying salary advances to other employees of the company - except that they never knew about it. The money went to her instead.
Another method was through payments to Royal Mail for the company franking system. She would cover her tracks by giving false information to her bosses about the amount of money being paid to Royal Mail for franking credits. The true amount went to Royal Mail and she kept the balance.
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The stealing came to light after discrepancies were discovered by the company finance director and the company secretary.
They questioned her about it at the company solicitors offices, where she handed them £1,750 in part repayment. There was to be a civil action for recovery of the stolen money.
Matthew Gowan, mitigating, told the court that Margan had paid back a further £15,000 using money lent by friends and family.
The stealing arose after she got heavily into debt. The debts spiralled out of control as she tried to use one loan to pay off others. She had also been suffering from post-natal depression, following the birth of her son.
Mr Gowan said that Morgan's husband knew nothing of her stealing, which has not been spent on an extravagant lifestyle.
But he failed to persuade Judge Goodin to impose a suspended sentence for Morgan who said: "This is a tragic case - it is not an exceptional case."
The judge described the stealing as "a grave break of trust" and said: "It is a very serious case indeed. You led an exemplary life up until 1995. I have read the references and the pre-sentence report (from the probation services) and I accept your remorse is considerable. You paid back nearly £17,000."
Speaking after the case, Chris Hayes, finance director of Boulter Buderus, said: "I have known and worked with Tracey for 12 years. This was going on for a long time. That's what you kind of find unforgiveable.
"It was akin to having someone die. It was devastating at the time but I have come to accept it now.
"The fact that it was going on consistently for such a long period of time is quite hurtful. You take it personally.
"It was an enormous shock because she had a position of trust, an enormous position of trust. In today's world you need to trust people otherwise you cannot live. She earned the trust over a period of time."
Mr Hayes said Morgan had been able to steal the money by making out transactions and then putting it down as postage to cover her tracks.
"It was not pay roll, she knew she was at great risk in pay roll. She would make a transaction out, pretend it was a postage and in actual fact it went into her account," he said.
"How she was able to obtain this money is not a control weakness."
Morgan's husband is team rector of the South West Ipswich Team Ministry.
A statement issued on behalf of the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, The Rt Rev Richard Lewis, said: "It is with great sadness and regret that Bishop Richard has heard the news that Mrs Tracey Morgan has pleaded guilty to charges of theft.
"This is a private matter between Mrs Morgan and her former employers. Bishop Richard wishes to make it clear that Mrs Morgan has never been employed by the Church.
"Bishop Richard continues to affirm the work of the Revd Ian Morgan as Team Rector of the South West Ipswich Team of parishes."
The Rev Ian Morgan added: "I am grateful for the continuing support of both Bishop Richard and the members of the congregations through what has been a very difficult time for my family and me."
The diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich is continuing to offer its support to the churchwardens and congregations of the South West Ipswich Team of parishes.