Durham Police/PA Wire

Priest who defrauded church out of £50k resigns

Tue 18 Apr 2017
By Alex Williams

A priest from County Durham who was spared jail after he admitted stealing £50,000 from his congregation has resigned.

In a letter to his church seen by the Daily Mirror, Fr John Reid apologised for the "distress and unrest" he had caused and he urged parishioners to "love one another".

Addressing worshipers at St Cuthbert's Church in Chester-le-Street, the 69 year old said: "I wish to express my sincere apologies for the all the distress and unrest my actions have caused.

"I accept full responsibility for the way the finances of the Parishes were used. Sorry."

Fr John Reid signed the letter as John C L Reid, not Father Reid. It suggests he may not return to priest duties, however, the decision on whether he can return to ministry with the Bishop of Newcastle.

Fr John Reid received a suspended 18 month jail term for fraud, earlier this month.

Durham Crown Court heard he spent much of the money on a housekeeper, Gillian Leddy, who he fell in love with. He also spent the money on her children.

Expenditures included helping to finance businesses and a set of cutlery which cost around £1200.

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