UK pensioner faked his own death in Honduras

LONDON Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:53pm BST

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LONDON (Reuters) - A British pensioner was jailed for six years on Friday after pleading guilty to faking his own death in Central America to try to pocket a 520,000-pound life insurance payout.

Anthony McErlean, 66, had impersonated his wife to claim he had died after being hit by a truck in Honduras in 2009, the Press Association reported.

A fake witness statement was produced to back up his bogus tale, claiming the crash happened as he was changing a tyre.

The made-up witness said he was travelling with McErlean to take wildlife pictures, and that following the crash, farm workers took his body away to a small village called Santa Rosa De Aguan.

But police were alerted by the Insurance Fraud Bureau, which had been contacted by suspicious officials at Ace European insurance company, who did not pay out a penny to McErlean.

Detectives arrested McErlean and found him with a credit card in the name of Green. It emerged he had not only faked his own death but had been claiming pensions relating to his late father-in-law from a previous marriage, who died in March 2007.

McErlean, from Kent, pleaded guilty to a charge of fraudulently making a claim to Ace European insurance firm when he appeared at Canterbury Crown Court on June 13.

He also admitted two counts of theft from a pension fund from the Port of London Authority totalling some 27,000 pounds, and 40,658 pounds from the Department of Work and Pensions.

(Stephen Addison)

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