A man has been handed a suspended jail sentence for stealing £3,000 from a former Merton Councillor.

Kevin Haran, 53, of Melford Road in Thornton Health, was found guilty of fraudulently cashing cheques belonging to Sue Assinen in what the court called a "severe breach of trust".

Ms Assinen, 62, served as a councillor for Abbey Ward at Merton Council for more than a decade and died in September last year from liver disease following a long running battle with alcoholism.

The thefts occurred just months before her death between March 9 and May 3, 2012. 

Following a trial, Haran was found guilty on one count of theft and was sentenced at Wimbledon Magistrates on Friday, January 4, to eight weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months.