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Funeral employee cheated cash from grieving relatives

PUBLISHED: 16:52 06 May 2009 | UPDATED: 11:50 12 August 2010

A FUNERAL company employee cheated the relatives of two dead people to make a bit of money on the side, a court heard. James Morgan, 37, of Lees

A FUNERAL company employee cheated the relatives of two dead people

to make a bit of money on the side, a court heard.

James Morgan, 37, of Lees Road, Willesborough, Ashford, has admitted fraud while working at Dignity Funeral Services, formally Kellaway Funeral Services, in Beckenham.

At Croydon Crown Court last Tuesday, he was ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work and will have to repay what he stole in March and August, 2007.

Prosecuting, James Gordon said inquiries began after a customer, Christine Vigors, complained that, after ordering a funeral bench and paying £575, she had received no receipt.

Another customer, Dianne Long, paid £2,475 as a deposit on a headstone, and in both cases, Morgan asked for the cheques to be made out directly to him.

The firm had no computer record of the transactions.

When he was questioned, Morgan said he had spent all the money.

Defending, Laura Manson said he had wanted the customers to have the benefit of the staff discount and he had intended paying for the goods himself. It had, she added, been a misguided sense of justice.

But Judge John Tanzer told Morgan, who had been passed over as manager of the branch: "You had been employed by Dignity for a considerable period of time and they obviously trusted you. You wanted to manage the place at Beckenham and you wanted to indulge in a sideline of your own. You saw a scope to make a bit on the side. It was utterly dishonest.

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