Simon Reynolds, 50, a vicar with the Church of England, went on trial for stealing “at least” 16,500 pounds (US$25,875) in church money over a six-year period, including fees paid for weddings and funerals. “It is hard to imagine a more deplorable and flagrant breach of trust,” Senior Crown Prosecutor Caroline Tubb told the court, “than a vicar stealing money from his own parishioners.” Reynolds denied the charges, telling police he was “very disorganised” with his bookkeeping, and “certainly had not kept it intentionally.” When court broke for lunch, Reynolds didn’t wait around to hear the verdict: he ran off. Sure enough, his barrister, Alasdair Campbell, said Reynolds “accidentally” fled the country, booking a ticket to Dusseldorf, Germany, when he meant to fly to Dublin, Ireland. After a European-wide alert was issued, Reynolds, who was staying with a friend, returned to Sheffield Crown Court to hear his sentence: 30 months in prison for his embezzlement, plus two months for fleeing.
Cassingham includes the Sheffield Star and London Evening Standard as sources.