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13 Sep 2017

Priest sentenced for blue badge parking fraud

A priest has been sentenced to 200 hours of community service after he used a dead woman’s disabled badge to park his car.

Father William Haymaker was convicted of fraud after parking his car in a disabled spot in Bexhill in December 2015.

What took so long?

The owner of the badge had died two months before.

He was also ordered to pay £3,700 in costs as well as carry out 12 months of unpaid work.

Mr Haymaker said he had promised a traffic warden to return the badge back to the council as part of registering the woman’s death, but he said he forgot to do so.

He said it was an "honest mistake" as he had seven permits in his glove compartment and was telling the “gospel truth”.

Seven permits?

Judge Christine Henson said: “You used a disabled person’s Blue Badge that did not belong to you to commit fraud. You’ve been convicted of a serious offence and you must be punished for it."

She added that his financial situation appeared "a little murky", and that she could not understand what he was spending his money on.

He told the court, as reported by The Argus, that he used to work for British Airways – but prosecutors and his legal team did not find any evidence to back up his claim.

He also said that he worked as a priest for as many as four funerals per day, provided pastoral care for the terminally ill and poor parishioners, ran errands for them and drove them to hospital appointments, for which he does not receive payment.

He also said he runs a charity called Project New Life which helps poor and neglected children in Moldova and Romania.

Earlier this year the jury unanimously found him guilty of fraud. He came to Hove Crown Court court to receive his sentencing with his official clerical dog The Venerable Mr Piddles.

Mr Haymaker was ordained in 1984 and is a rector of St Paul’s Anglican Parish in Bexhill.

Source

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