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31 October 2014, 05:20 | Updated: 31 October 2014, 08:53
A former church warden who defrauded friends and fellow parishioners out of £5.3 million has been jailed.
Patrick Coppeard, 49, admitted fraud by false representation between 2008 and 2013 while he was church warden at St John's in Buckhurst Hill, Essex.
Today he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court where he was jailed for six years, Essex Police said.
Investigating officer Detective Constable John Vickers said: ``Coppeard preyed on his closest friends and family for his own gain.
``He has devastated the lives of a considerable number of people.''
Many of his 62 victims were in court to hear him sent to prison.
The former employee of Merrill Lynch investment bank was arrested last year after voluntarily attending a police station.
It is understood Coppeard, of Spring Grove, Loughton, has since stood down from his position with the church.