09/21/2012 03:49 pm ET

Grahame Lawler, Former Funeral Worker, Steals Purse From Dead Body

He's putting the "take" in undertaker.

A former funeral worker in England has admitted in court to stealing a purse from a woman's corpse less than an hour after she died.

Grahame Lawler, 37, took the purse off the body of Muriel Swift, 78, when he went to her home on July 6 to transport her body to the funeral parlor, the Mirror reports. The bag contained £200 in cash, credit cards, and Swift's PIN numbers written on pieces of paper.

A police officer at the scene of the death became suspicious of Lawler, and a bodily search found the purse hidden in his sleeve.

He told Cambridge magistrates that he saw stealing the purse as "the way out" of an unpleasant job. "[I] have seen some very vile, nasty and horrible things," he said. "Decomposed bodies, people that have been run over, things like that.

Lawler was employed by Co-operative Funeralcare, which, the Sun reports, is the largest funeral firm in Britain.

Jane Carpenter, a close friend of Swift, was appalled by the theft. I don’t know what was worse," Carpenter told Cambridge News, "being told she was dead or that she’d been stolen from."

Lawler is scheduled to be sentenced next month.



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