An Elvis impersonator stole a cancer charity collection at his mother-in-law’s FUNERAL – after performing a tribute song as The King, a court heard.
Christopher Martin Burrows, 56, sang ‘The Wonder Of You’ during the service in memory of his then wife’s mum Solange Scott.
But a court heard just minutes later he pocketed £290 which had been collected by mourners for Macmillan Cancer Support on October 27, 2015.
Burrows, of Wigston, Leics., denied a charge of theft when he went on trial at Leicester Crown Court on Thursday (23/2).
Jurors were told the Elvis tribute act is well known for his renditions of songs by the legendary singer at functions across the country.
Prosecutor Jonathan Eley said the cash was stolen by Burrows at the service which was held at St Peter and St Paul Church in Hathern, Leics.
He added: “This case is about theft – of taking something that isn’t yours.
“That is the allegation. His then wife’s mother, Solange Scott, sadly passed away in 2015 and her funeral was held in Hathern Church.
“During the service, the defendant performed a song in tribute and was in charge of playing other music.
“During the funeral, a collection was taken which was to be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support. That amounted to £290.
“It was taken aside by the churchwarden, Janet Leivers, and the amount noted down and logged in a book in the church kept to record all such donations.”
The court heard the money was donated as mourners entered the church and kept by Mrs Leivers in a plastic envelope along with several condolence cards until it could be handed over to the family.
But Mr Eley told the jury Burrows was the last person to be seen with the money.
He added: “Burrows, along with his nephew, Jacob Radford, the grandson of his father-in-law Anthony Scott, came back to the church to clear away the PA system and speakers.
“That’s when Mrs Leivers took the opportunity to hand the envelope containing the cards and donations to the defendant.”
Giving evidence, Mrs Leivers said she was alone in the church and about to lock up when Burrows came in and took the envelope of money.
She added: “About 40 minutes after the funeral service, Mr Burrows and a young man came to collect the PA system, laptops and amp and microphones from the service.
”I came out of the vestry and took the envelope to him and asked if he would pass it on to Mr Scott, and he agreed.
”I think he put the envelope into his coat pocket. I’m not 100 per cent sure, but it certainly went out of view.”
Burrows’ nephew Mr Radford also told the court he saw his uncle take the envelope and “put it into the pocket of a laptop bag” which he was told belonged to Mr Scott.
In his evidence Mr Radford said the church was busy at the time, with children sitting on a mat at the front having a story read to them by one of two adults.
The court heard Burrows was arrested in March last year after Mr Scott discovered Macmillan Cancer Support hadn’t receive the £290 donation.
Mr Eley read out a statement from a charity official confirmed they had not received the money.
The court heard Burrows claims he left the envelope on a church pew and forgot to take it.
The trial continues.