Cemetery manager buried the dead on top of each other in £14k

first_imgIt told The Telegraph it will do all it can to ensure that people who want to be buried at Mount Vernon can still do so.“Where people have been fraudulently sold burial plots we will give them a genuine deed and ensure they can be buried at Mount Vernon,” said an archdiocese spokesman.The court heard how Henderson took cash in hand payments for burial plots at the cemetery, in the Liberton area of the city, that were in reality already occupied or had been previously sold.He altered official records to make it appear the plots were vacant and produced false documents purporting to be deeds showing ownership of the space.The court heard Henderson, who had been employed at the cemetery since 1997, had no authority to sell the plots, as they already contained remains, were either owned by others or were situated in common ground.Fiscal depute Aidan Higgins told the court one man bought a plot from Henderson for £850, but discovered a few weeks later that there might be a “difficulty” with the transaction.He said: “The deeds which had been provided by the accused were studied and found to be false.”The plot which had been sold was a real plot. The plot had been sold to another family in 1988 and was not therefore available for sale. Checks confirmed there was no record of the £850 payment.” The 46-year-old pleaded guilty to a single charge of fraud charge when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.The Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh said it “deeply regrets” the actions of the former employee. William Henderson at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, where he pleading guilty to fraud Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. William Henderson at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, where he pleading guilty to fraudCredit:CIARAN DONNELLY/LESLEY DONALD PHOTOGRAPHYcenter_img In another case the family of Rose Webster only discovered the plot for which they had paid £400 lay on an access path when they visited her grave in the spring, after snow which had previously covered the area had melted.Sheriff Donald Corke, who heard the case, warned Henderson he faces a possible prison sentence when he returns to court in a month.Bailing him to an address in Midlothian he said: “This is clearly a very serious matter and you should be aware that although all options are available to the court custody is the most likely outcome.”Henderson’s actions were exposed after administrative changes at the top of the archdiocese uncovered suspicions of fraud in late 2014.Then, in January 2015, the Archdiocese received a complaint from an undertaker regarding a potentially fraudulent burial deed, leading to police being called in to investigate..Dr Elspeth Atkinson, the diocese’s chief operating officer said: “The archdiocese deeply regrets the criminal activities of Willie Henderson and has been working hard over the past months to offer both pastoral and practical support to those families affected by his actions and we will, of course, continue to do so in the months to come. “Families were exploited by him at a time when they were grieving and vulnerable. That’s why his crimes are so shocking.”Detective Chief Inspector Paul Grainger, who led the Police Scotland investigation, said: “William Henderson targeted vulnerable families when they were grieving and distressed.”His deception and exploitation led to Henderson amassing thousands of pounds from these families.” A crooked cemetery official made thousands of pounds by burying the dead on top of each other in a nine year campaign of fraud against grieving families.William Henderson also pocketed hundreds of pounds in cash after selling space that had been reserved by families for future use and in parts of the cemetery where burials were not allowed, such as footpaths and access routes.The former superintendent at Edinburgh’s Mount Vernon Cemetery admitted on Thursday fraudulently mis-selling burial plots to grieving families over a nine-year period.Henderson defrauded the archdiocese that runs the city’s only Catholic cemetery of thousands by illegally selling forged burial deeds.In one case the grieving family only realised their mother had been buried on an access path, following a winter funeral, when they visited her grave in spring, after melting snow had revealed its setting.Henderson’s criminal campaign involved 13 individual cases of fraud totalling more than £14,000, between 2006 and 2015. He sold plots for as much as £6,500, though in one case charged just £20.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *