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Cemetery fraudster jailed

A cemetery worker who admitted to illegally selling burial plots has been jailed for 16 months.


45 year old William Henderson pled guilty to a single charge of running a fraudulent scheme, which affected 13 bereaved families, at the Mount Vernon cemetery in Edinburgh.

At a hearing in August, Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told that Henderson made thousands of pounds from his victims by selling burial plots which didn’t exist by forging documents, or selling sites which already contained remains. 

In some cases he told families they were purchasing empty burial plots, however, they already contained human remains in unmarked graves.

Henderson had been employed at the Mount Vernon site from 1997 and was made full time superintendent in 2014. His fraudulent scheme ran between 2006 and 2015.

Andrew Richardson, Procurator Fiscal for Lothian & Borders, said:

“This was as very unusual offence which greatly affected a number of families. It was a complex case to investigate, requiring painstaking effort from police and prosecutors to establish the fraud that was being perpetrated.

“Henderson was a trusted individual by those who had responsibility for the running of the cemetery and he took the opportunity to abuse that trust for his own financial gain.

“It should be some comfort to the victims of his offending that he accepted his guilt at an early stage in proceedings.”