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Disgraced former council chairman dies in jail

John Morgan was serving five year sentence

John Garvey

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John Morgan

DISGRACED former Newbury District Council chairman John Morgan is reported to have died in prison.

In January 2014 he was jailed, aged 75, for five years for fleecing a pensioner with Alzheimers Disease out of £154,000.

Morgan, who also served on West Berkshire Council and was living in Highclere Gardens, Wantage, was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court.

During a six day trial, the court heard how Morgan ruthlessly raided the bank account of his friend of 30 years, 92-year-old Beryl Gittens, after he was given legal control over her affairs when her memory began to fail.

When Mrs Gittens died, she was given a pauper's funeral funded by West Berkshire Council as Morgan had even drained her accounts of any money to pay for her burial.

The court also heard how he tried to abuse his position as a West Berkshire councillor to deflect investigations.

Morgan stole the money in thousands of bank transfers and cash withdrawals as Mrs Gittens sat in care homes.

He even funded trips to Las Vegas casinos with her money.

Judge Mary-Jane Mowat labelled Morgan's actions "shambolic and devious."

The married father-of-three served as a councillor on Newbury District Council from 1984, becoming chairman in 1996.

He was later elected to West Berkshire Council, where he sat on the Downlands area planning committee and represented Leckhampstead, Brightwalton, Chaddleworth and West Ilsley.

The Ministry of Justice has released the following statement: "HMP Cardiff prisoner John Morgan died in hospital on Thursday 12 May.

“As with all deaths in custody there will be an investigation by the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.” 

See next Thursday's Newbury Weekly News for more.

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