ID Thief Is Jailed for Living a 27-Year Lie as 'Friend'

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Fairburn

A MAN who stole a childhood friend's identity 27 years ago has been jailed after his 'outrageous lie' was exposed.

David Watkins' double life only emerged when he appeared in court for drink-driving and claimed he was David Brooks.

The DVLA wrote to the real David Brooks demanding he hand in his driving licence - but he said he had no knowledge of the case.

An investigation discovered that Watkins, 47, had told his employers, the Inland Revenue, credit firms and even his partner that he was David Brooks.

Selkirk Sheriff Court heard Watkins, of Galashiels, Selkirkshire, had started using his former friend's name and birthdate after being convicted in the 1980s of obtaining property by deception.

Mark Keane, prosecuting, said that when Mr Brooks complained to the DVLA after the drink-driving case in November that someone was using his identity, they replied they could not assist him due to the Data Protection Act.

The lawyer explained that Watkins knew Mr Brooks for eight or nine years of their childhood, but they had lost contact in the 1980s.

Defence solicitor Ross Dow said: 'He has lived this outrageous lie for 27 years. After a while, he felt it was easier to adopt the name David Brooks. Even his partner thinks he is David Brooks due to the Data Protection Act.' Watkins pleaded guilty to four charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice through identity theft by lying to the police and the court that he was David Brooks and using his date of birth.

Jailing him for ten months, Sheriff Kevin Drummond said: 'The security of identity is a matter of grave public concern.

'You appeared in this court and were disqualified from driving using a false name and date of birth. …