Police sergeant who ‘stole from the dead’ is convicted of theft by jury
PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:27 04 December 2019
A former police sergeant serving in east London has been convicted in court of stealing from the dead.
Graeme Williams was found guilty by a jury yesterday of theft as an employee by stealing money and property from the estates of three people who had passed away.
Now east London's Met Police Commander Marcus Barnett has made a public apology to the families.
Williams, who served under what is now the Met's East Central Command covering Tower Hamlets and Hackney, retired in 2013.
Part of his role had been the point of contact for sudden deaths that were non-suspicious, so that no criminal investigation would be taking place.
He was asked to continue the same role as a police volunteer after his retirement, which gave him control over cash and property recovered from the homes of people who had died and was responsible for keeping it safe until their heirs were located.
But Williams stole more than £11,000 from the estates of three deceased between 2012 when he was a serving officer and 2015 as a police volunteer.
"To steal from the dead is shameful," Det Con Matt Wigg said after Williams' conviction. "It beggars belief that someone trusted as a police officer and a volunteer should behave so disgracefully.
"We have been horrified that families who had already been bereaved have suddenly been made to suffer further because of his actions."
Williams' "disgraceful" dishonesty brought condemnation from the Met's East Central commander at Bethnal Green, Det Chief Supt Marcus Barnett, who said that bereaved families had "suffered further distress at a time when they were mourning their loved ones".
Commander Barnett added: "Williams was tasked with such a sensitive role, but took advantage of the trust placed in him and abused it for his own financial gain.
"My dismay is shared by many officers and staff who worked with him over the years and are aghast that he could have been so deceitful."
He publicly apologised to the families on behalf of the Metropolitan Police.
Williams' actions fell far below what he said were the Met's professional standards.
The 66-year-old from Borehamwood in Hertfordshire had served 26 years with the Met. He is due back at Snaresbrook Crown Court to be sentenced on January 7. His case is also being considered by the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards.