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article imageDespicable thefts UK — Robbing the dead

By Alexander Baron     Sep 21, 2012 in Crime
London - A thieving bankster gets her just deserts, and two men who should know better - a police officer and an undertaker - plead guilty to stealing from the dead.
The town of Croydon has been in the news a lot lately, and for all the wrong reasons: the riots, a famous department store closing down, and the murder of Tia Sharp. There is also thieving bankster Jessica Harper whose conviction was reported here last month. Today she was back at Southwark Crown Court where after being given time to put her affairs in order she was sentenced to 5 years behind bars by Judge Deborah Taylor who told her: "You were a senior employee in the bank in a position with a high degree of trust at a time when Lloyds was substantially supported by a lot of taxpayers' money following difficulties sustained by the bank in the financial crisis".
She knew that already but probably didn't see the five year stretch that was shortly to come her way. What is more despicable than a bankster who plunders people's savings? How about an undertaker who steals from the dead?
Such was Grahame Lawler, who appeared before magistrates at Cambridge where he pleaded guilty to stealing the purse of an elderly lady while her body was still warm. He is said to have taken £200 in cash, credit cards and PIN details.
He said he had seen “very vile, nasty and horrible things” in his line of work and was suffering financial hardship. Now he will see a vile and nasty thing every time he looks in the mirror, and his financial hardship will doubtless be compounded by unemployment, and on top of that, he can probably expect a short spell in clink, because rather than fining him, the beak has sent his case to Cambridge Crown Court for sentence, always an ominous sign.
If you can't trust an undertaker, surely you should be able to trust a police officer. Alas, PC Richard Bent proved to be Bent by name, bent by nature. On July 13, he was a constable guarding the door of a house where the body of a man was found. The deceased appears to have died from natural causes. He was asked to retrieve some medical notes from the flat in Westminster, and helped himself to £250 in cash as well.
His colleagues appear to have been on the ball, and set a trap for him later that same day; an undercover police officer posing as a member of the public handed him a bag which contained £93, and this lost property remained lost. Bent appeared before District Judge Nicholas Evans this week, and admitted the two acts of theft. When questioned about the theft from the deceased, he is said to have told a colleague "No disrespect, but he's dead".
Bent is the cousin of a member of the England football team; doubtless his cousin will be less proud of him than is ex-PC Bent of the sportsman. He is due back in court for sentence next week having thrown away his career, a fat pension and his good name for less than a week's pay. Somebody should have told him the privilege money can't buy works only when a police officer is bent for the job, and not when he is bent for self.
More about Jessica Harper, Theft, Richard Bent, grahame lawler
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