Fake lord kept identity from wife and family

A MAN who used a dead baby’s name for 23 years to live the life of a lord and has refused to reveal his true identity even to his own ex-wife and children may be hiding “a dark secret”, a detective said yesterday.

And the ex-wife of the man - who assumed the identity of a nine-month-old boy called Christopher Edward Buckingham who died in 1963 - said she was “disappointed” that her family were still clueless over his real name.

Calling himself “Lord Buckingham”, the man perpetrated a “wholesale identity theft” backed up with false documents and even notepaper headed with a coat of arms not used since the 18th century.

Last month the man pleaded guilty to making an untrue statement for the purpose of obtaining a passport. Yesterday he was sentenced to 21 months in jail at Canterbury Crown Court by Judge Adele Williams, who criticised him for his “lack of remorse” and “active obstruction” of the authorities.

His ex-wife Jody-Lynn Doe, speaking from her home near Wellingborough, Northants, said: “We are just trying to absorb what has happened today in court and we are disappointed that Chris has not revealed his true identity.”

Detective Constable David Sprigg, said: “I think that he has got some dark secret that he is hiding and he doesn’t want us to know what it is.”

The man’s web of deceit began to unravel in January when British immigration officials checked his passport at Calais and found it had been revoked in 2003 following checks.

He was allowed to board a ferry to Dover but was arrested when he arrived, telling police in interview that he was Lord Buckingham, a title he inherited on his father’s death in 1982.

Prosecutor Trevor Wright - who compared the case to the plot of the novel The Day Of The Jackal - told the court the real Christopher Buckingham was born in 1962 in Lambeth, south London, but died in a tragic accident in Bognor Regis the next year.

Fingerprints and DNA samples have been sent to South Africa, Switzerland - where the man lived and worked - Germany and Israel in a bid to discover his identity.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox