'˜Walter Mitty-like' fantasist created fake IDs to avoid Hampshire speeding ticket - including using the name of a French museum
A '˜fantasist' who used the name of a French waxworks museum as part of an '˜extraordinary web of deceit' in a bid to avoid a speeding ticket has been jailed for 12 months.
Christopher Henry also doctored documents and created a second fake identity of a man living in the most northern part of Britain to try to avoid prosecution.
Sentencing the 52-year-old at Winchester Crown Court, Judge Andrew Barnett described him as a ‘fantasist’ akin to Walter Mitty.
Hampshire police said that Henry, of Church Road, Weston-on-the-Green, Oxfordshire, was caught speeding by a mobile camera on the A343 Newbury Road in Hurstbourne Tarrant in February 2016 while driving his ex-wife’s Land Rover Freelander.
But in an attempt to avoid the £100 fine and three points on his driving licence, he intercepted the fines letter and first claimed a French man, named after the Musee Grevin in Paris, had been driving before then claiming that a man called George Harris from the Isle of Lewis had been at the wheel.
A force spokesman said: ‘When officers could find no record of either man, they made contact with Interpol who found that the name of the French man was the same as that of a wax museum in Paris, and his address was a nearby hotel.
‘Inquiries with the hotel showed that a Mr Musee had never stayed or worked there.
‘They then spoke to the postmistress on the Isle of Lewis, who had lived on the island her whole life, and she knew nothing of a Mr Harris, Mr Musee or Christopher Henry.’
The spokesman said that investigations revealed that fingerprints found on the paperwork were Henry’s and not his ex-wife’s and that the French man’s name had also been given to Avon and Somerset Police when an Audi TT registered to Henry was caught speeding in August later the same year.
He added: ‘Henry, who consistently denied having driven or had any access to the Freelander, was then caught out when officers got voice recordings of him calling the AA out on two separate occasions when he broke down in the Freelander.
‘During the trial the court was given evidence showing how Henry had also provided false dates of sale to the DVLA, set up a false email address and doctored emails from insurers, all in an effort to cover his tracks.’
PC Richard Jewell said: ‘In his sentencing, the judge has sent a clear message to those that might consider such deceitful actions. He would have got points and a fine but now he has a criminal record and time in prison.’
Henry did not respond to the original speeding notice and was prosecuted for failing to provide information.
He was given six points and fined £800, which was raised when he appealed to £1,600, with a three-month disqualification from driving.