Essex

Church trustee Patrick Coppeard jailed for £5m fraud

St John's Church, Buckhurst Hill Image copyright John Salmon and Essex Police
Image caption Patrick Coppeard conned members of St John's in Buckhurst Hill out of more than £5m

A church trustee who conned congregation members out of more than £5m has been jailed for six years.

Patrick Coppeard, 49, encouraged about 60 members of St John's Church in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, to give money to a fraudulent investment scheme.

Coppeard, from Church Langley, Harlow, admitted fraud by abuse of position at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Essex Police said he had "preyed on his closest friends and family for his own gain".

After the sentencing, Det Con John Vickers said Coppeard had "devastated the lives of a considerable number of people".

Coppeard, a former employee of Merrill Lynch investment bank, collected the money between 2008 and 2011.

He resigned from his position as a trustee of St John's in April 2013, a church spokesman said.

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