Worker ‘may have worn stolen clothes’

COURT Derek Offord arriving at Portsmouth Crown Court
COURT Derek Offord arriving at Portsmouth Crown Court
Crystal Collins, left, and Sharon Newell with some of the children by the pond 

Picture: Malcolm Wells (171116-8678)

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A COUNCIL worker accused of theft may have worn clothes which had belonged to a dead man, a court heard.

Derek Offord, 59, was seen wearing a brand-name jacket and a fleece top, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.

Robyn Clark, a former Portsmouth City Council liaison officer, said the garments were similar to those she had seen while visiting a house in Victoria Road North, Southsea, after the occupant had died in 2007.

Offord worked for Portsmouth City Council handling the burials of people for whom no next of kin could be found.

Giving evidence via video link from Australia at Portsmouth Crown Court, Ms Clark said: ‘Derek wasn’t one for dressing up or wearing name brand stuff. Then I had noticed all of a sudden that he was wearing name brand stuff, outdoorsy kind of winter gear stuff.

‘There was a dark, black or really dark grey, it was like a fleecy kind of top but it was a name brand, expensive-looking... there was one that was more kind of a jacket and one that was more like a fleecy kind of top. One of the items definitely looked like it was too small. To me it looked exactly like the kind of stuff that (the deceased) had at his properties.’

Ms Clark said she declined a previous offer from Offord, of Orchard Road, Havant, of a bike stored in a council-rented lock-up in Portsmouth that belonged to a person who had died. Offord denies two thefts and four counts of possessing criminal property.

(Proceeding)