I’m entirely innocent, says senior minister

Ian Finn ANL-140916-173323001
Ian Finn ANL-140916-173323001

The rural Dean of Clare has appeared in court to deny defrauding the church of more than £13,000.

The Rev Canon Ian Finn, 55, is accused of paying “church funds” into his personal bank account.

Sandra Dyer, prosecuting, told magistrates he had defrauded the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich of £13,204.

The offences are said to have taken place between January 2007 and March 2011 while he was head of St Mary the Virgin Church in Haverhill.

But Finn, who is also Rector of Haverhill and an honorary Canon at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of fraud by abuse of position.

Speaking after the five-minute hearing before magistrates in Bury St Edmunds on Tuesday, Finn said he was “confident” a jury would clear him.

The Dean, who was supported at court by more than a dozen friends, said: “I am entirely innocent of these charges and have done nothing criminally wrong.

“The last few months have been a dreadful ordeal and I am grateful to all the friends who are supporting me and share my belief that I am innocent.”

Finn, from Haverhill, was granted unconditional bail and his case will be heard at Ipswich Crown Court on October 2. He was suspended pending the result of the police investigation.