Crooked coroner Alan Crickmore raked in £180K in salary
CROOKED coroner Alan Crickmore was not content with stealing £2 million from the estates of dead people – he also raked in £180,000 of tax payers' money as he continued to claim his salary despite not doing the job.
And there was nothing Gloucestershire County Council, which paid his salary, could do about it.
Solicitor Crickmore pleaded guilty on Thursday to 16 counts of theft, seven of fraud by abuse of position and one of fraud between 1999 and 2011.
Southwark Crown Court was told he stole the money in a "frenzied attempt" to balance the books at his firm, Alan C Crickmore in Cheltenham High Street.
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He pilfered the estates of the dead and conned clients.
The 57-year-old, of East Approach Drive, Cheltenham, was arrested in January 2011 after a probe into irregularities at his legal practice, which had been closed down by the Solicitors Regulation Authority a month earlier.
Crickmore told Gloucestershire County Council he would no longer act in the role of coroner.
But because of a legal loophole, Crickmore was able to claim his £60,000 salary.
Although his salary was paid by the county council, they had no authority to dismiss or suspend him.
This was because he is a judicial officer and independent of politics who can only be dismissed by the Lord Chancellor.
Crickmore finally resigned on Thursday, but will not officially step down until November 1.
A spokeswoman for the judiciary said: "Alan Crickmore had voluntarily agreed not to sit pending the conclusion of criminal and disciplinary proceedings.
"As a result of his resignation the Judicial Conduct and Investigations Office no longer needs to consider Mr Crickmore's conduct."
A coroner for another local authority, who refused to be named, said Crickmore's decision to absent himself from the role made it impossible for anybody to make a decision.
County councillor Will Windsor-Clive said having to pay Crickmore had been "really frustrating".
He said: "While we run the coroners' service in the county, we don't employ the coroner and only the Lord Chancellor can dismiss him.
"As a result we've had no power to take action."
Crickmore was bailed and electronically tagged until he is sentenced on November 28.
He lives in an apartment in a large detached house with a well-tended front garden and a silver Mazda sports car on the sweeping drive.
When the Echo asked to speak to him on the intercom, a man's voice said: "You must be kidding," before hanging up.