Spiritualist president charged with stealing thousands from Willington church funds

The Northern Echo: Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court

A WOMAN has appeared in court charged with stealing almost £16,000 from a County Durham spiritualist church while she was president.

Christine Ames, 64, of Cheviot Walk in Coundon, near Bishop Auckland, faced five charges when she appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court in County Durham this afternoon (December 6).

All of the charges relate to Willington Spiritualist Church, of which she was the president according to court papers.

Ms Ames is accused of stealing £15,835.12 from the church between March 1, 2005, and August 14, 2011.

She is also charged with false accounting between March 1, 2006, and February 28, 2011, when it is alleged she falsified five financial statements to conceal financial deficiencies.

And she also faces three charges of committing fraud by abuse of position.

The first is dated between February 1, 2006, and February 28, 2006, when it is alleged she asked another person to hold church money in a safe with a view to depositing in her own bank account.

Between August 1, 2011, and September 30, 2011, Ms Ames is accused of telling another woman that the account deficiencies were due to their joint mismanagement rather than her own dishonesty.

And the final fraud charge relates to September 18, 2011, when she is accused of telling a man that the deficiency in the church finances was as a result of somebody else’s dishonesty.

No pleas were indicated for any of the charges and Ms Ames was given unconditional bail to appear at Durham Crown Court on Friday, December 20.

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