Jail for Suicide Faker Accused of Sex Attack; Sitcom Superstar: Reggie Perrin

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Brooke

A MAN who carried out a Reggie Perrin-style fake suicide to start a new life has been jailed for 12 months.

Mark Bailey, 44, who was under investigation by police for an alleged sex assault, left behind a rucksack containing four handwritten notes to family members and police at a cliff top.

Unlike the BBC sitcom, in which Leonard Rossiter's Perrin character lasted for three seasons in the 1970s, Bailey's deception was quickly exposed and he was arrested within 24 hours.

A huge air and sea search was launched after he rang emergency services pretending to be a passer-by who had found the rucksack.

He told them he feared that someone had leapt 200ft into the North Sea near Bridlington, East Yorkshire.

Suspicions were aroused when police traced the mobile used to make the 999 call and discovered it was registered to Bailey himself.

He was arrested 30 miles away on a train at Goole railway station. He gave police his new name, Shane Dowling, but officers weren't fooled.

Unemployed Bailey, whose family life was said to be in turmoil, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at Hull Crown Court.

Passing sentence, Judge Simon Jack said the attempt to fake his death was 'fairly short-lived' and his motive was 'to get away from it all'.

But the crime was a serious matter warranting a lengthy jail term, he added.

The court heard Bailey, from Rotherham, was pretending to go on a coastal walking holiday when he put his plan into action on June 5 this year. …