Vale councillor jailed for theft from 92-year-old woman

John Morgan The judge described Morgan's actions as "shambolic"

Related Stories

A "devious" councillor who gambled away thousands of pounds in Las Vegas which he stole from a 92-year-old woman has been jailed for five years.

John Morgan, who was a Conservative Vale of White Horse member at the time, stole £154,000 from Beryl Gittens, from Berkshire, between 2004 and 2012.

Morgan, 75, of Highclere Gardens, Wantage, Oxfordshire, claimed he had acted according to her wishes.

The judge said his "devious" actions were a "breach of trust".

Mrs Gittens has since died.

Speaking outside Oxford Crown Court, the victim's sister-in-law Audrey Pagett said Morgan had got what he deserved.

She added: "I'm pleased it's all over... that's the end of it now, I shall forget it.

"She trusted him so completely and she would have been so upset... I wouldn't have wanted her to know [the truth]. It's better that she didn't know.

"I never trusted him from the word go, ever."

Gambling addict

Morgan, also a Wantage town councillor, resigned from the Tory group after being found guilty last month.

He said Mrs Gittens had told him to spend the money because she did not want her family arguing over it after her death.

He spent the majority of the cash on gambling slot machines at service stations and in Las Vegas, the court heard.

Suspicions were aroused after Mrs Gittens' death when there was not enough money to pay for her funeral.

Judge Mary Mowat said she had taken into account Morgan's age, and his council and charity work, when passing his sentence.

But she said it was in "strange and startling contrast to the devious and shambolic way" that he dealt with the affairs of Mrs Gittens.

She described Morgan as a gambling addict who justified his actions to himself by making out that the victim's family had abandoned her.

She added: "You did this when you had an enduring power of attorney. In my view there is no grosser breach of trust.

"You made out like you were her only true friend."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Oxford

Weather

Oxford

22 °C 12 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Good evening 17:59:

    That's all for today, thanks for stopping by.

    BBC Local Live will be back from 08:00 on Wednesday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Oxfordshire.

     
  2.  
    Tonight's TV 17:48: Geraldine Peers Presenter, BBC South Today

    Coming up on BBC South Today at 18:30 this evening:

    Ten arrests have been made in connection with the sexual exploitation of young girls. More than 100 officers took part in the operation centred on Aylesbury.

    And Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire have been selected as areas where badgers will be vaccinated to try and stop the spread of bovine TB.

     
  3.  
    Dry night 17:37: Alexis Green Weather presenter, BBC South Today

    Tonight will be dry with long clear spells, this may trigger mist and fog to form.

    Weather chart

    Temperatures will drop to about 12C (54F) in the countryside, but in towns and cities it will remain mild with lows of 14 or 15C (57 to 59F).

    For the full 10-day forecast, visit the BBC website.

     
  4.  
    Listen again 17:28: BBC Radio Oxford

    At the weekend, Kat Orman went to the Big Feastival and met former Formula One driver David Coulthard. He revealed how his wife won his heart with a bowl of soup.

    Kat Orman and David Coulthard

    If you missed their conversation on the Kat Orman show, you can listen again on BBC iPlayer.

     
  5.  
    Pound stone 17:19: Kat Orman Afternoon presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Meet Clypeus ploti, a fossilised sea urchin from the Jurassic period, found across the fields near Chipping Norton. It's often called "pound stone" because people would use it to measure out their butter.

    Clypeus ploti a fossilised sea Urchin

    Just one of the findings from my tour of Chipping Norton with the Oxford Geology Group.

     
  6.  
    F1 buses 17:08:

    Earlier we told you Formula One race technology would be powering buses in Oxford.

    Banbury Rugby Club ‏tweeted: "Does that mean then @BBCOxford that they'll become even slower, quieter and less exciting that they already are? ;-)"

     
  7.  
    In the news 16:56: Bethan Phillips Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on the BBC Radio Oxford news at 17:00: The government has launched a badger vaccination scheme aimed at stopping the spread of bovine TB beyond hotspot areas in south-west England.

    Badgers in nearby counties - including Oxfordshire - will be vaccinated from next March.

     
  8.  
    Ship sculptures 16:47:

    Works by sculptor and artist Richard Fox, from Old Minster Lovell, have been chosen by P&O Cruises to be part of Britain's largest floating art collection on its ship Britannia, which launches in March next year.

    Richard Fox

    Richard has produced two sculptures for the Indian restaurant Sindhu - some of the 8,000 pieces of art to be displayed on Britannia showcasing a diverse range of styles and disciplines.

     
  9.  
    Ring road traffic 16:37: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    There's the usual busy traffic building across the Oxford ring road this afternoon.

    It's busy on the southern bypass clockwise from Littlemore to the A34 at Hinksey, slowing due to the contraflow, and the eastern bypass is very heavy anti-clockwise, Cowley up to the Headington roundabout.

    The A415 Culham into Abingdon is also weighty.

    For the latest, visit the BBC website.

     
  10.  
    Hot air balloon 16:31:

    Becca Collacott from Abingdon sent us this picture of a hot air balloon.

    Hot air balloon

    Send us your photos by email or on Twitter.

     
  11.  
    F1 powers buses 16:21: Emma Harrison BBC News Online

    Technology developed by a Formula One team will help to power a new fleet of Oxford buses.

    Oxford bus

    The hybrid "Gyrodrive" system, which was developed by the Williams team, will reduce fuel consumption and emissions, Oxford Bus Company says.

     
  12.  
    Home schooling 16:10:

    On BBC Radio Oxford, we've been talking about home schooling and we asked whether you thought it was a good idea.

    School pupil

    Lizzie Jane Melkonian Gan replied on our Facebook page. She said: "Most homeschooling families are part of a group who do activities together. I've homeschooled my son because he was advanced 2 years ahead of his peers so it was not for religious reasons.

    "I think you shouldn't assume it's for religious reasons or that they have social fears. But maybe we shouldn't fear so much. It can be beneficial for the child as long as educational standards are upheld."

     
  13.  
    In the news 15:58: Bethan Phillips Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on the BBC Radio Oxford news at 16:00: Nicola Blackwood, Conservative MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, is calling for a scheme which allows victims of child sex abuse to record their evidence to be rolled out nationally.

     
  14.  
    On Air 15:47: David Prever Drivetime presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on BBC Radio Oxford after four, we'll be talking about debt and asking, how do you live within your means?

    And, after losing my daughter's favourite doll on the beach at Lyme Regis, we'll be discussing lost favourite childhood toys.

     
  15.  
    Road reopens 15:38:

    Police have tweeted that Abingdon Road in Oxford has reopened following a crash earlier.

    A woman was seriously hurt when she was hit by a car in Lake Road.

     
  16.  
    Big Feastival 15:29: Kat Orman Afternoon presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    This afternoon on BBC Radio Oxford, we'll be looking back at the Big Feastival - the food and music festival held at Alex James's farm in Kingham at the weekend.

    David Coulthard

    While I was there, I had a chat with former F1 driver David Coulthard. Tune in now to hear our conversation.

     
  17.  
    William and Kate visit 15:21: Oxfordshire Guardian

    Oxford will host the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Monday when the Royal couple open a new £21m Oxford University centre for China studies.

    William and Kate will open the Dickson Poon China Centre building in the grounds of St Hugh's College in St Margaret's Road.

     
  18.  
    Badger vaccination 15:10:

    A scheme to vaccinate badgers against bovine tuberculosis in a bid to tackle the disease in cattle has been launched by the government.

    Badger

    Areas identified for vaccination are Cheshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hampshire and East Sussex.

     
  19.  
    In the news 14:59: Bethan Phillips Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on the BBC Radio Oxford news at 15:00: A woman has been seriously hurt when she was hit by a car in Oxford.

    It happened at about 13:00 in Lake Street at the junction with Abingdon Road.

    The ambulance service said the woman was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford with serious injuries to her pelvis and legs.

     
  20.  
    United foiled 14:49: Oxford Mail

    Michael Appleton is determined to do his shopping earlier next summer after Oxford United were unable to land their top target before the transfer window shut last night.

    The U's were in advanced talks with an experienced striker, but the deal collapsed before the 23:00 deadline.

     
  21.  
    Summertown sunrise 14:42:

    The BBC's Danny Cox tweeted this photo of the view from the BBC building in Summertown this morning.

    Summertown

    Send us your photos by email or Twitter.

     
  22.  
    Tenants evicted 14:29: Oxford Times

    Residents in an Oxford block of flats have been told to leave by the end of the month to make way for the £400m Westgate redevelopment.

    Flats at Abbey Place are to be demolished to make way for a John Lewis department store.

     
  23.  
    Powering Up! 14:18:

    Local authorities and communities from across the UK will converge on Oxford Town Hall this Thursday for a conference to discuss how they can successfully work together to increase community energy nationally.

    Osney Hydro

    Hosted by the city council, the Powering UP! conference will be addressed by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey who launched the UK's first ever Community Energy Strategy in January this year.

     
  24.  
    Broken down tractor 14:07: BBC Radio Oxford

    The B480 Cowley Road in Oxford is blocked at the James Street junction because of a broken down tractor.

    For the latest traffic and travel, visit the BBC website.

     
  25.  
    News headlines 13:57: Bethan Phillips Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on the BBC Radio Oxford news at 14:00: One of the major routes in and out of Oxford is blocked.

    Police say they are dealing with a "serious injury" crash involving a car and a pedestrian at the junction of Abingdon Road and Lake Street. Drivers are being advised to avoid the area.

     
  26.  
    Serious crash 13:46:

    Police in Oxford have tweeted: Officers currently in Lake Street at junction with Abingdon Road, dealing with a serious injury road traffic collision.Please avoid the area

     
  27.  
    Road closed 13:40:

    Bus firm Stagecoach Oxford has tweeted that Abingdon Road has been closed due to a crash.

    Routes 16 and 31 are being diverted along the Iffley Road.

    Tweet
     
  28.  
    Charity abseil 13:28:

    Do you fancy abseiling down St Mary Magdalen's church tower?

    St Mary Magdalen's church tower

    Oxford Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC) is looking for more adults to abseil down the tower on Magdalen Street in Oxford on Saturday 4 October, no experience required.

    It costs £40 and those taking part are asked to raise £100. All funds will be used to ensure that OSARCC is able to continue meeting the needs of women and girls who have experienced sexual violence across Oxfordshire.

     
  29.  
    Big conversation 13:13: Phil Gayle Breakfast presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Earlier on BBC Radio Oxford we asked, what would you do if you disagreed with your doctor or consultant's advice. Here are some of your responses:

    Jane Race tweeted: "You should be able to seek a second/third opinion! Parents should be with very sick children, not in custody!"

    Chemistry_Emz tweeted: "second opinion. Option is there, but you'll always find someone who will do what you want if you can pay - rightly or wrongly"

     
  30.  
    In the news 12:57: Bethan Phillips Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on the BBC Radio Oxford news at 13:00: The government has launched a badger vaccination scheme aimed at stopping the spread of bovine TB beyond the hotspot areas in southwest England.

    Badgers in neighbouring counties - including Oxfordshire - will be vaccinated from next March.

     
  31.  
    Business burgled 12:47:

    Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses after a burglary at a business premises in Thorney Leys Park, Witney, last Wednesday.

    An alarm at the property was activated at 22:07 after offenders smashed the back door to the office and stole a free-standing safe from inside. The safe contained a reel of cobalt covered wire.

     
  32.  
    Home schooling 12:34: Malcolm Boyden Mid-morning presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    On BBC Radio Oxford, we are talking about home schooling and we asked whether you thought it was a good idea for children to learn at home.

    School work

    Darren Grant replied on our Facebook page: "They will miss out on interaction with children from a wide range of backgrounds.

    "From what I have seen the majority of homeschool parents are trying to indoctrinate children into a particular ideology such as a religious belief or philosophy.

    "They will ultimately lack the skills of how to deal with conflict and integration with people who do not share their beliefs."

     
  33.  
    War on Fatbergs 12:21: Oxford Times

    Oxford's water provider called on customers not to pour fat down the sink as part of its "war on fatbergs".

    Warnings about what to not put down the drains came after Thames Water revealed that last year it unclogged 247 sewers in the city and a further 1,446 sewers in the rest of Oxfordshire.

     
  34.  
    In the news 11:57: Clare Woodling Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on the BBC Radio Oxford news at 12:00: Fuel savings of up to 25% are expected from a new fleet of 14 buses operating in Oxford.

    The new vehicles, unveiled today, are fitted with innovative technology based on Formula One designs, developed by the Grove-based F1 Williams racing team.

     
  35.  
    Badger vaccination 11:45:

    A widespread badger vaccination scheme has been launched in Oxfordshire and 10 other counties, aimed at stopping the spread of bovine TB beyond the hotspot areas in the West Country.

    Badger

    Badgers in the so-called "edge" counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hampshire and East Sussex will be vaccinated from next March.

    The government hopes the programme will help create a buffer zone of healthy badger populations to help curb the spread of TB in cattle.

     
  36.  
    Big conversation 11:35: Phil Gayle Breakfast presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    This morning on BBC Radio Oxford, we asked what you would do if you disagreed with medical advice.

    Bruce Inker from Kidlington was told he might have only a year to live and needed major bowel surgery to beat his cancer, but when Bruce decided not to take his consultant's advice, it resulted in an argument.

    He said: "If you are sat there with not particularly good news, you look for other options.

    "I decided on direct contact radiotherapy - it involves inserting it into the body and firing radiation straight to the tumour.

    "The treatment I had was not widely known in Oxford but my consultant had the balls to say yes, 'actually this is good' and has since referred other people to that treatment."

     
  37.  
    First round tie 11:25: Danny Cox Presenter, BBC Oxford

    With the transfer window out of the way, Oxford United can turn their attention to their Johnstone's Paint Trophy first round tie with Cheltenham.

    Michael Appleton

    Manager Michael Appleton said: "The JPT is the only cup competition where any of the teams who enter can win it and I'm sure every single manager will be thinking the same."

    You can hear live commentary from 19:00 tonight on BBC Radio Oxford 95.2FM and on digital.

     
  38.  
    Lane blocked 11:14: BBC Radio Oxford

    There's one lane blocked and queuing traffic on A4142 Eastern Bypass Road northbound in Oxford at Headington roundabout, because of a broken down lorry.

    There's also temporary traffic lights and electricity work on the A4130 in both directions in Didcot between the B4493 junction and Milton Interchange.

    For the latest traffic and travel, visit the BBC website.

     
  39.  
    Ginny Stroud 11:05:

    Troubador Publishing ‏tweets: "Tune in to @BBCOxford now to hear Ginny Stroud, author of The Executioner's Tale, talk to Malcolm Boyden! http://www.bbc.co.uk/radiooxford"

     
  40.  
    In the news 10:58: Clare Woodling Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on the BBC Radio Oxford news at 11:00: The leader of Oxfordshire County Council hasn't ruled himself out of consideration as the new MP for North Oxfordshire.

    Sir Tony Baldry will stand down at the next General Election, having represented people in Banbury and Bicester for 31 years.

    The search is beginning by the Conservative party for a replacement candidate.

     
  41.  
    Honorary degree 10:49: Hannah Bewley BBC News Online

    Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes, is to receive an honorary doctorate.

    Sir Roger Bannister

    The former neurologist is due to attend graduation ceremonies at Oxford Brookes university tomorrow.

     
  42.  
    Petrol station attack 10:39:

    Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses to an incident of grievous bodily harm in Bicester.

    A man suffered a fractured eye socket and a broken jaw when he was hit with a golf club on the forecourt of the Gulf petrol station in Buckingham Road, Bicester, early on Saturday.

     
  43.  
    Charity makes shortlist 10:29:

    Mental health charity Oxfordshire Mind is on the shortlist for an award from this year's Lloyds Bank Community Fund.

    Oxfordshire Mind screengrab

    The charity supports people across the county who are affected by mental health problems and every month hundreds of local people benefit from its groups, courses and one-to-one sessions.

    Voting for the 2014 Community Fund is open until Friday 10 October.

     
  44.  
    Reservist support 10:18: Phil Gayle Breakfast presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Employers in Oxfordshire are being asked to do more to help staff become military reservists.

    Oxfordshire County Council is pledging to do more to support part-time service people, and is urging others to follow suit.

    RAF reservist Cheryl Huntbach, who works at a children's centre in Oxfordshire, said she couldn't do it without the support of her boss.

     
  45.  
    On Air 10:08: Malcolm Boyden Mid-morning presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on BBC Radio Oxford: Why more and more of us are choosing home education.

    They say education is compulsory but school is optional. Were you home schooled? Get in touch.

    And after 11, we'll be talking to the woman from Temple Cowley who's turned Miss Marple into a murderer.

     
  46.  
    In the news 09:58: Clare Woodling Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on the BBC Radio Oxford news at 10:00: Emergency treatment is being given to a cyclist at the scene of a collision in Bicester.

    London Road's been closed both ways between Launton Road and Sheep Street after the crash involving a vehicle just after 08:00.

     
  47.  
    Transfer window 09:49: Danny Cox Presenter, BBC Oxford

    The transfer deadline came and went without a deal being done, either incoming our outgoing, for Oxford United.

    The team will now turn its attention to the loan market next week.

     
  48.  
    Silent disco for Liberty 09:40: Oxford Mail

    Details have been announced for a silent disco to raise money for a memorial commemorating crash victim Liberty Baker.

    Liberty Baker
     
  49.  
    Big conversation 09:29: Phil Gayle Breakfast presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    On this morning's Big Conversation on BBC Radio Oxford, we've been asking you, what would you do if you thought the advice you were given by doctors was wrong?

    We've been hearing about little Ashya King, whose parents are in separate jails in Spain after taking him out of hospital in the UK.

    Geoff Smith replied on our Facebook page. He said: "Never had cause for concern with our own Doctor's here in Bloxham. Always helpful, always prepared to listen with a sympathetic ear.

    "But I think I would seek a second opinion if I felt the need. Even a third if I felt really strongly. But for the dilemma facing this poor family, I'd search the world for an answer...."

     
  50.  
    London Road closed 09:20: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    In Bicester, the B4100 London Road is now closed in both directions due to an accident between Launton Road and Sheep Street.

    Reports are that the accident involves a car and a pedestrian. The diversion is taking traffic via Victoria Road.

    For the latest, visit the BBC website.

     
  51.  
    Man dies in crash 09:14: Emma Harrison BBC News Online

    An elderly man has been killed in a two-car crash near Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

    Police officers were called to the crash between the pensioner's Volvo and a Volkswagen Golf in the Witney Road area yesterday afternoon.

     
  52.  
    Travel woes 09:06: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Too add to our travel woes this morning, we're seeing A44 queues from Begbroken to Wolvercote due to congestion at Peartree and, in addition, Oxfordshire County Council is carrying out gully works on that stretch.

    Congestion on the A34 is now blocking up the Botley Interchange causing queues towards Oxford, back towards Cumnor on the A420.

    For the latest, visit the BBC website.

     
  53.  
    as it happened
    • News, sport, travel, weather for Tue 2 Sept
    • More updates from 08:00 on Wednesday
    • Listen: Radio Oxford
     
  54.  
    In the news 08:58: Charles Nove Presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on the BBC Radio Oxford news at 09:00: A vital service credited with improving transplant success rates for young patients in Oxfordshire needs urgent funds to continue.

    With only 100 young kidney patients in the Thames Valley, the Young Adult Clinic at the Churchill Hospital brings them together to share experiences.

     
  55.  
    262-mile run 08:47: BBC Radio Oxford

    BBC's Lilley Mitchell is in Thame with George Anderson who is about to embark on 10 marathons in 10 consecutive days.

    George Anderson

    He will be setting off live on air in the next few minutes to raise money for Thomley Hall Centre - a recreational facility for disabled children and their families and friends.

     
  56.  
    Bicester crash 08:43: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    In Bicester, we're just getting reports of delays due to an accident involving a car and a pedestrian on the B4100 Market Square eastbound between Causeway/Chapel Street and Launton Road.

    For the latest, visit the BBC website.

     
  57.  
    Escaped cows 08:38: Oxford Mail

    Escaped cows were reported to be blocking a road near Bletchingdon this morning causing delays for drivers.

    Cows

    Police were called to the scene on the A4027 between Bletchingdon and Islip and said when they arrived the cows had moved on.

     
  58.  
    Big conversation 08:28: Phil Gayle Breakfast presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    We've all heard the story about Ashya King, the little boy who was taken from hospital by his parents.

    Ashya King with his mother Naghemeh

    This morning on BBC Radio Oxford, we're asking, what would you do if you thought doctors had got it wrong?

     
  59.  
    Contraflow congestion 08:18: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    The schools are back today and the roads are not looking good this morning.

    The contraflow on the Oxford ring road southern bypass for works at Kennington roundabout is causing major congestion at Hinskey Hill interchange and on surrounding routes.

    The A34 is queued southbound from Peartree to Hinskey and northbound from Abingdon North to Hinskey. The A4074 is also queued from Sandford to Heyford Hill.

    For the latest traffic and travel visit the BBC website.

     
  60.  
    Sunny spells 08:11: Bee Tucker BBC Weather

    There will be varying, possibly large, amounts of cloud at times, but also some warm sunny spells, once initial mist, patchy fog or areas of low cloud gradually lift and break.

    Bee Tucker

    Highs of 20C (68F).

     
  61.  
    Good morning 08:00: Roz Tappenden BBC South

    Welcome to BBC Local Live for Oxfordshire.

    We'll be bringing you all the latest news, sport, travel and weather across the county until 18:00.

    Do let us know what's happening where you are. You can contact us by email, Facebook or Twitter.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.