Freemason pleads guilty to stealing £120,000 from Antrim lodge

Stanley William Murphy (63) was grand treasurer of Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim

According to court papers, the fraud by abuse of position took place over two and a half years from July 2006. Photograph: iStock

According to court papers, the fraud by abuse of position took place over two and a half years from July 2006. Photograph: iStock

 

A former senior member of the Freemasons has pleaded guilty to stealing more £120,000 from his lodge.

Stanley William Murphy (63), of Broomhill Court, Magheralin, Co Down, appeared at Belfast Crown Court, where his case was listed for trial. Last May he pleaded not guilty to 15 charges when he appeared at the same court for an arraignment hearing. But on Tuesday his defence barrister applied to the court to have Murphy rearraigned on all charges he faced.

The defendant pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud by abuse of position and further entered guilty pleas to 14 counts of stealing £121,504 from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, which has its headquarters in Rosemary Street in Belfast.

According to court papers, the fraud by abuse of position took place over a 2½-year period from July 2006. At the time of the offences, Murphy was the grand treasurer of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim.

The 14 theft charges span a three-year period from July 2006 to July 2009.

The theft charges state he stole amounts ranging from £1,400 to over £26,000 from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim’s account with the Northern Bank.

A defence barrister confirmed to Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland that “no restitution” would be made in the case.

Judge McFarland ordered a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the Probation Service ahead of sentencing in October.