Radio Sandwell Miscellanea

Man pretended to be in a coma for two years to avoid court

2014-10-22 11:49:18

Alan Knight
Conman Alan Knight (pictured) of Swansea, South Wales faked that he was in a vegetative state after he scammed his next door neighbour out of £40,000

A fraudster who pretended to be in a coma for two years was caught by police going on shopping trips and holidays with his family.

Conman Alan Knight of Swansea, South Wales, faked being in a vegetative state after he scammed his next door neighbour out of £40,000.

The 47-year-old tried to beat justice by claiming he was a quadriplegic - his family said he was hooked up to oxygen and had no movement from the neck down.

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Alan Knight
But a court heard how he was caught out after CCTV captured him walking around the Tesco supermarket (pictured) in Bishops Cleeve

But a court heard he was caught out after CCTV captured him walking around Tesco and driving his car to Dorset.

Knight was then hauled before Swansea Crown Court where he admitted scamming the pensioner who lived next door to him out of thousands of pounds.

The fraudster had been living off benefits after claiming he had suffered a massive neck injury.

The court heard that he claimed his injury had caused him to have seizures which left him in a comatose state.

His wife Helen, 33, claimed she had to care for her husband who had snapped his neck after falling backwards as he pulled down a garage door.

But the whole time he was carrying out an elaborate three-year fraud targeting neighbour Ivor Richards' life savings and shares, the court heard.

Alan Knight
Alan Knight was pushed into Swansea Crown Court in a wheelchair by his wife Helen

Alan Knight
The 47-year-old, pictured with wife Helen, tried to beat justice claiming he was a quadriplegic, was even hooked up to oxygen and that he had no movement from the neck down

The court was told how he 'systematically' funnelled £41,570 out of the pensioner's bank account which he used to pay for holidays and to buy a caravan in Dorset.

The father-of-three was caught on CCTV at the Severn bridge toll on the M4 as he travelled back from the south coast.

He was also captured on CCTV in Tesco stores across the country after police traced the use of the family's loyalty club card.

Officers tried 'at least twice' to bring him to court but each time he admitted himself to hospital claiming his condition had worsened.

Swansea Crown Court was told he had 'pulled the wool' over his GP's eyes but he was unable to fool doctors at the hospital.

While he was on 'observations' they spotted him eating, wiping his face and even writing.

Knight was told he would have to stand trial even if he did not attend, and he finally appeared in court in a wheel chair and wearing a neck brace.

Alan Knight
CCTV images showed Alan Knight (pictured left in a blue t-shirt) entering Tesco supermarket in Trostre, Llanelli, west Wales with his wife Helen

Alan Knight
Officers tried 'at least twice' to bring Alan Knight (pictured in the wheelchair) to court - but each time he admitted himself to hospital claiming his condition had worsened

He admitted theft and forgery charges and was told he is 'likely' to be jailed in order to put other people off from trying his scam.

Judge Thomas added: 'His appearance in court now is at variance with his appearance in CCTV footage.

'Aspects of this case in my experience are unique, and a strong message needs to be sent out to anyone who seeks to adopt similar tactics.

'Having seen the CCTV evidence from Tesco and driving the car, I have come to the conclusion he is putting it on. 

'Attempts to make progress have been thwarted by Mr Knight pretending to be ill.

'Although a very accomplished and determined actor, he is nothing like in the condition he claims to be, and the conditions he claims to be suffering from are simply non existent.

'His illnesses coincide with impending court appearances. I do not believe the symptoms are genuine.

'He has been monitored, despite attempts to maintain the fiction. He was seen wiping his face and writing things down, which are inconsistent with being paraplegic or in a coma.'

Alan Knight
The fraudster pretended to be in a coma for two years but was caught by police going on shopping trips and holidays with his family

Alan Knight
Alan Knight (pictured) admitted theft and forgery charges and was told he is 'likely' to be jailed in order to put other people off from trying his scam

The court was told that it was believed the bank had reimbursed his victim and a date was set next month for sentencing, after a probation report had been prepared.

Previously, he had escaped standing trial twice, in September 2012 and July 2013.

A third trial was due to start today with a judge at Swansea Crown Court signalling it would go ahead in his absence.

The decision came after a day of discussions at the court yesterday during which expert evidence demonstrated conclusively that Knight was a fraudster.

Today Knight avoided a trial as he admitted 19 separate charges of forgery, fraud and theft over more than a year from November 2008. He will be sentenced next month.

Detective Constable Harry Paul, who led the case, said: 'In my entire career this is the most calculated, long-term deception of a vulnerable, elderly neighbour I have ever seen.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

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