Man Who Faked Own Death Jailed for 32 Months

Con artist Stephen Kellaway found hiding out in Thailand

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Hammersmith and Fulham Council

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A con artist who faked his own death and then tried to hide out in Thailand has been sentenced to 32 months in jail.

Stephen Kellaway and his wife, Nelli scammed Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council out of almost £15,000.

Realising the authorities were closing in on them, the couple travelled to Russia in 2008 where, according to her diary extracts, Nelli underwent a breast enlargement operation.

During that trip, Stephen, 54, faked his own death by allegedly bribing a mortuary worker to place his passport on the body of a tramp. But on Thursday, March 8 Kellaway was sentenced to 20 months for the benefits swindle and 12 months for the identity fraud, with half of the sentence to be served behind bars.

Nelli was arrested on the day that she flew back to the UK from Russia carrying an urn which she claimed contained Stephen’s cremated remains. She has since been convicted of three counts of fraud and two counts of money laundering but escaped with a suspended sentence.

But Stephen Kellaway was not dead. In fact he had made his way to Thailand using a passport he allegedly secured using the birth certificate of a dead child.

After spending two years on the run, a bedraggled Kellaway was eventually tracked down to Suvarnabhuni Airport in Bangkok in 2011 where he had been sleeping rough.

Fed up of constantly looking over his shoulder, the fugitive handed himself into the Thai authorities and after spending time in The Immigration Detention Centre in Bangkok was flown back to London in December 2011.

He was met on the runway at Heathrow by police who immediately charged him with benefit and identity fraud offences.

Kellaway, formerly of Uxbridge Road in Shepherds Bush, appeared at Harrow Crown Court on Thursday, February 16 where he pleaded guilty to four charges of benefit fraud and identity fraud. Earlier today, March 8, 2012, at Croydon Crown Court he was sentenced to 32 months for his crimes.

Cllr Greg Smith, cabinet member for residents services, said:"This rogue went to extraordinary lengths to avoid detection and now he is exactly where he deserves to be - prison. This case shows that wherever you run to you will eventually be tracked down and made to pay for your crimes. We will be doing everything we can to seize this man’s assets."

The couple's con originally came to light after Stephen Kellaway submitted a claim for housing and council tax benefit in March 2008.

Among many other offences, he did not mention rental income from property in Camden and nearly £200,000 he and his wife had in savings. He also said he was a single parent when he was really living with his wife.

He also failed to state that Nelli had more than £80,000 worth of cash in a series of undeclared bank accounts.

H&F also prosecuted on behalf of Richmond Council, who were swindled by Kellaway out of £28,000.

Since her conviction, Nelli Kellaway has been forced to pay back £55,000 of defrauded money via the Proceeds of Crime Act.

March 9, 2012