A Roman Catholic priest swindled £50,000 from his parish after falling in love with his housekeeper and lavishing gifts on her. Judge Christopher Prince called Father John Reid’s fraud an “aberration” that went on for 40 months.
The priest was expected to live a simple, celibate life at St Cuthbert’s Church, Chester-le-Street, Co Durham.
But he fell for Gillian Leddy and splashed out church cash on wine and travel for himself, her and her daughters.
Father Reid, 70, spent £1,200 on cutlery while dining out on oysters and smoked salmon, Durham crown court heard.
The priest, now living in Stockton-on-Tees, got an 18-month suspended jail term after admitting fraud. He will repay the £50,000.