Trial of Portsmouth council boss accused of stealing hears from expert

TRIAL Derek Offord arrives at Portsmouth Crown Court, accused of stealing from the dead
TRIAL Derek Offord arrives at Portsmouth Crown Court, accused of stealing from the dead

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A STAMP collector has told a jury valuable stamps sold by council worker Derek Offord matched those missing from a dead man’s collection.

Offord is accused of stealing the stamps, worth thousands of pounds, from the home of David Bradley, in Romsey Avenue, Milton. Mr Bradley had died of cancer.

The 59-year-old was the manager of Portsmouth City Council’s administration and liaison team and welfare burials officer.

The prosecution say he used his position to steal goods from the homes of dead people.

Stamp collector Tony Finlayson was a friend of 62-year-old Mr Bradley’s and knew about his collection.

Records show Offord was paid £4,330 from an auction house in Derby for the sale of stamps in 2008, after Mr Bradley’s death.

Asked by David Jenkins, for the prosecution, if those stamps matched Mr Bradley’s he said: ‘I would think so, yes.

‘I certainly can’t say with any degree of accuracy it came from David’s collection but it might well have done.

‘It could very well have been David’s but I can’t be specific.’

Offord also sold stamps via an Australian auction house and made 37,258 Australian dollars.

Mr Finlayson said: ‘All of them could have been in his [David Bradley’s] collection because he had a general collection of Australian stamps in which he specialised.’

The prosecution say that if Offord was a genuine stamp collector then Mr Finlayson and other collectors would have heard of him.

Mr Finlayson said: ‘There are closet collectors but I would have thought from the description of the material and its specialisation, I would have thought that he would have belonged to the British Society of Australian Philately.’

Offord, of Orchard Road, Havant, is accused of helping himself to antiques, jewellery and other items worth tens of thousands of pounds while working for the council.

He denies two thefts – one from Mr Bradley in 2006 and one from Ivor Kemp in 2010. He also denies four counts of possessing criminal property in June 2010, where the owners of the items have not been traced.

(Proceeding)