Judge Christopher Prince called Father John Reid’s fraud an “aberration” that went on for 40 months.
The priest was expected to live a simple, celibate life at St Cuthbert’s Church, Chester-le-Street, Co Durham. But he fell for Gillian Leddy and splashed out church cash on wine and travel for himself, her and her daughters.
Father Reid, 70, now living in Stockton-on-Tees, got an 18-month suspended jail term after admitting fraud. He will repay the £50,000.