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Deceased Baby’s Identity Stolen

A professional man, someone in a position of trust stole the identity of a child who died over fifty years ago in order to make false benefit claims.

Sixty five year old David Pinnell, a former clinical psychologist from Southport swindled himself a small fortune over a period of seven years of over sixty thousand pounds in a style similar to the well known movie ‘Day of the Jackal’.   The stolen identity came from a baby who died in the 1950’s called David Robertson.  Baby David died at just six months old.

Sefton Council initiated the investigation along with the Merseyside Police and the Department for Work & Pensions.

Mr Pinnell admits that he obtained a driving licence and a passport in the dead baby’s name and then went on to open a bank account where the stolen money was kept.   Using baby David’s name he even sat his driving test again and purchased property in order to rent out, including a property that he himself rented out in his true identity making himself both the tenant and the landlord.

The prosecutor Mr David McLachlan stated that Mr Pinnell was a sophisticated fraudster who knew exactly what to do in order to falsify documents to obtain money.  He went on to say that the prosecution was determined to ensure that Mr Pinnell paid back as much of the stolen money as possible.

Mr Pinnell was charged with false accounting of pension claims, council tax and housing benefit for a period of four years along with a number of counts of being in possession of false documents of identity.    He pleaded guilty to all ten charges.  He did however plead not guilty to a charge regarding the forgery of a tenancy arrangement.

Denied Aiding and Abetting

Mr Pinnell’s partner, Doctor Ifeoma Onyia works as a specialist registrar for Sefton primary Care Trust.  She and her barrister Mr Robert Altham also attended Liverpool Crown Court but she denied aiding and abetting David Pinnell with his fraudulent behaviour.  She allegedly signed one of the five tenancy agreements that the Court were aware of and as the law surrounding these arrangements were rather complex, the Court Prosecution had no wish to prepare further evidence.  She was released after a non guilty verdict was given on her charge by Judge David Boulton.

Mr Pinnell was represented by Mr David Owen who stated that his client was undergoing a psychiatric analysis after Mr Pinnell claimed that initially his intention for stealing the baby’s identity was not to steal money or make false benefit claims.  Mr Pinnell who is looking at a rather large term in jail is due to be sentenced later this year and is currently out on conditional bail.

Day of The Jackal

This 1971 thriller film was written by Frederick Forsyth, an English born writer, about a man called Edward Fox who was a professional assassin in the early sixties.  Mr Fox stole a number of identities in order to kill the President of France, Charles de Gaulle, one of which included the identity of child’s name taken from a gravestone.

This man’s despicable actions have no doubt caused baby David’s family a lot of distress.  Hopefully the justice system will deliver a suitable punishment.