Man Fakes Coma, Paralysis to Avoid Prosecution
A 47-year-old UK man has plead guilty to hefty charges after faking quadriplegia, which he claimed in part caused him to sometimes fall in to a coma, for two years, to avoid facing prosecution for an even worse crime.
A couple years back, Alan Knight of Swansea, Wales, stole £40,000 (around US$64,000) directly from the bank account of an elderly Alzheimer's patient and neighbor.
When police got wind of the crime and an investigation began, Knight "claimed to be quadriplegic and so sick he sometimes fell into a coma. He checked himself into a hospital to avoid court appearances, saying he was having seizures," KX News reports.
Knight's wife had even written a letter to The South Wales Evening Post, explaining that her husband was "quadriplegic and in a comatose condition, bed-bound at home [after a neck injury]. We've been through absolute hell and we're still going through hell."
The Knights' fraudulent claim was discovered after police got hold of public surveillance footage of Knight walking around stores and driving a car.
Authorities finally decided the trial would be held with or without Knight, to which the suspect responded by arriving in court in a wheelchair, wearing a neck brace.
According to Judge Paul Thomas, who presided over the case at Swansea Crown Court, Knight is "a very accomplished and determined actor ... and the conditions he claims to be suffering from are simply nonexistent. His illnesses coincide with impending court appearances. I do not believe the symptoms are genuine."
After prosecutors presented the video evidence to the court, Knight plead guilty to 19 counts of theft, forgery and fraud.
Knight's wife has not been formally charged with any crime.