The former chief executive of the Fellowship of St John Trust has pled guilty to theft. On 9 January 2014 Geoffrey Hammond was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment by the Southwark Crown Court for stealing £99,493 between May 2012 and August 2013 while serving as the trust’s executive officer.
An internal audit found a substantial shortfall in the trust’s accounts last summer. When confronted Hammond admitted the theft. He was dismissed from his post on 5 Aug 2013 and the matter turned over to the police.
The Society of St John the Evangelist (SSJE) was an Anglican religious order founded in 1866 at Cowley, Oxford, England, by Father Richard Meux Benson, and was the first permanent religious community for men established in the Anglican Communion since the Reformation.
In the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries the society expanded to America, Canada, Scotland, India, South Africa and Japan. It maintained a presence on Marston Street, Oxford from 1868 to 1980 and in 1905 opened St Edward’s House in Westminster. While the SSJE remains active in the United States, in 2012 the order was dissolved and St Edward’s House sold.
Proceeds from the sale were placed with the Fellowship of St John Trust fund trust fund for care of retired members of the society in England.
A former Labour Councilor for the Higham Hill Ward of Waltham Forest, Hammond stated he took the money to meet his debts. The trust has recovered all of the money stolen.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.