Judge warns disgraced Stourbridge church treasurer he WILL be sentenced next week

Stephen Methuen

Stephen Methuen

First published in Local

A JUDGE has ruled an accountant who stole more than £525,000 from a Stourbridge church and religious charity where he worked as treasurer must be sentenced for his crimes as scheduled on September 26.

Judge Martin Challinor at Wolverhampton Crown Court rejected a request from barrister Jas Mann on behalf of 57-year-old Stephen Methuen for the case against him to be further adjourned until the end of October Mr Mann told the court Methuen was a man with "serious medical problems" and he had an appointment to see a specialist on October 15.

He stressed Methuen knew he had to be sentenced "sooner or later" but said the specialist's report would reveal just what treatment was needed in future for his troubles.

But Mr Matthew Brook, prosecuting, said investigations into the case had been delayed over the last nine months becase Methuen had been "malingering."

He said: "This is another application to put back the inevitable sentence.” And he maintained Methuen could continue to receive treatment if the case was concluded as planned.

The judge said: "Now I have been given a full appraisal of the facts I feel it would be overwhelmingly in the interests of justice that the September 26 date should stand."

But he said if an up-to-date medical report was presented to the court with a prognosis that Methuen had to be treated outside the prison environment that was something to be considered by the sentencing judge.

He said Methuen must make himself available to appear before the court for sentencing and he warned him that his failure to attend would result in a warrant being issued for his arrest.

Methuen acted as treasure for Amblecote Christian Centre and the Christian International Relief Mission in Stourbridge; and over six years he embezzled the evangelical church in Brettell Lane out of more than £400,000 and the charity of more than £100,000.

Methuen, of Smalman Close, Wordsley, has admitted six charges of of falsifying documents at the christian centre to conceal payments being made to his personal and business accounts between 2003 and 2009.

He has also admitted six charges relating to the falsification of accounts for the Relief Mission to conceal payments to himself and four charges of cheating HM Revenue and Customs.

Judge Michael Dudley at a previous hearing warned Methuen, who is now living in a caravan on a site near Stourport, that a prison term was "likely" for the offences and he will also face a future hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

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