A Catholic priest has been jailed for 10 months in Scotland for stealing nearly £100,000 from his church.
Fr Graeme Bell, 41, admitted to being addicted to an online roulette game which led him to commit embezzlement and taking £96,000 from his parish, “Our Lady Star of the Sea” in Saltcoats, Ayrshire, Scotland.
He managed to return £25,000.
His lawyer, Gerard Brown, declared that his client would return the rest of the money with the help of his insurance and donations by his friends.
He insisted that his client was “a good man who had given his life to God, to the church and to his parishioners.” He also pointed out that “the priest’s anxiety and depression reached a stage where he was not behaving as a law-abiding individual.”
The Kilmarnock court decided that the crime was too important to be ignored. It called the crime a “significant breach of trust” and also added that the money taken was a “substantial amount of funds”.