Disgraced church treasurer sentencing delayed again

Stephen Methuen

Stephen Methuen

First published in News

A 57-YEAR-OLD man who has admitted pocketing over £520,000 from the Stourbridge church and religious charity where he was treasurer is now scheduled to pay the price for his crimes on October 4.

Professional accountant Stephen Methuen looked after the financial affairs for both the Amblecote Christian Centre of which he was a member and the Christian International Relief Mission.

But over a six-year period Methuen, of Smalman Close, Wordsley, defrauded the evangelical church out of more than £400,000 and the charity out of over £100,000.

Methuen made an application through his barrister on his last appearance before Wolverhampton Crown Court to get his sentencing delayed again because of medical problems.

But Matthew Brook, for the prosecution, branded him a "malingerer" who had continually tried over the last few months to delay the "inevitable."

Methuen, who is now living in a caravan on a site near Stourport, was due to be sentenced on September 26 but his case has now been listed by the court on October 4.

He has pleaded guilty to six charges of falsifying documents at the Christian Centre in Brettell Lane to conceal payments being made to his personal and business accounts.

He further admitted six charges relating to the falsification of accounts at the Relief Mission and four charges of cheating HM Revenue and Customs by filing gift and repayment claims that overstated the total charitable donations made over a four year period.

When he first appeared before the Crown Court Methuen was warned by Judge Michael Dudley that a prison sentence was "highly likely".

The prosecution have accepted Methuen does have a number of medical issues but they told the court on his last appearance, "The investigation has been delayed for over 9 months because of his malingering."

Methuen has been told that if he produces a full medical report detailing the treatment he needs it will be considered by the Judge when he returns to the Crown Court.

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