Tuesday, June 21, 2011

African woman who live a lie for two decades

One is a white, British-born housewife from the West Midlands. The other is a younger black woman, thought to be from Nigeria.
But despite their obvious differences, the African woman was able to spend 15 years travelling on a British passport in the unsuspecting British woman's name.
The astonishing deception only came to light after the real Carol Anne Keast tried to renew her passport  – and was interrogated to find out whether she was who she claimed to be.

After the 53-year-old provided proof of her identity, including decades-old school records, an alert was raised for the mystery black woman travelling the world using her name.
The bogus Carol Anne Keast, thought to be an illegal immigrant, was finally arrested following a break in Marbella with her unsuspecting television producer boyfriend.
Yesterday she was beginning a nine-month prison sentence for fraudulent use of a  passport – but still refusing to divulge her  real identity.
Even the partner she had been living with, 54-year-old former Gladiators producer Tom Henderson, last night admitted he didn't have a clue who she really was.
The case highlights worrying loopholes in Britain's border security – and raises the prospect that unless the impostor reveals her identity, she cannot be deported when she is freed.
Her victim, who has used her married name of Carol Anne Payton since 1982, said: 'It is a bit silly really because mine is a very unusual name and she is apparently about 20 years younger than me.
'She is of African appearance and I am not. Neither are any of my family. How she thought she was going to travel and get away with it I will never know.'
The impostor obtained a copy of Carol Anne Keast's birth certificate in 1989 and used to it obtain a passport in that name in 1995. She renewed the passport in 2005.
But when former bank worker Mrs Payton applied to renew her passport in 2009, tighter anti-fraud checks highlighted the clash and she was called in for interview.
The mother-of-two, from West Bromwich, said: 'They said there was already one in my name with the same details. I had to go for an interview and prove who I was.
'I had to take in school documents and the passport authorities asked me questions about my family. They did eventually issue me with a passport and I was told that unless this woman used the passport that she had to travel, it would not flag up and they would not be able to chase her.
'I must admit I thought she was never going to be caught.'
But last November, the bogus Carol Anne Keast flew into Manchester Airport and was challenged by immigration officers.
The impostor was unable to give any information to support her claim to be the real Carol Anne Keast, insisting she suffered from memory loss.
She was jailed for nine months at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, for fraudulent use of a passport.
Prosecutor Sol Broady said: 'She is wilfully refusing to identify herself properly, or give her country of origin.'
Sarah Johnston, defending, said medical tests had shown her client to be displaying symptoms of depression and mental health 'fragilities'.
Judge Jonathan Geake told her: 'You have fooled a number of people, and have been living a lie for a number of years.
'Your real identity, it would appear  to everybody, remains something of  a mystery.'
She could face further action, including contempt of court, if she fails to tell the truth.
When Mr Henderson was asked if he knew the woman's real identity yesterday at the flat they shared in Northenden, Manchester, he replied: 'I haven't got a clue.'
Immigration sources said she was believed to be originally from Ghana or Nigeria and to have arrived in Britain before fingerprints were routinely taken with visa applications.
The Home Office said such a case could not happen today due to tougher anti-fraud measures. For example, fingerprints are now taken from overseas visa applicants seeking to travel to Britain and are kept on file.
The impostor also obtained a driving licence under the name Carol Anne Keast. Investigators are expected to examine whether she fraudulently claimed benefits during her two decades living a lie.

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