A FRAUDSTER who used his dead baby brother’s identity to claim over £19,000 in benefits has been jailed for 26 weeks.
Nigel Sharpe, aged 42, was on the verge of committing suicide, and went to a drawer to get some tablets, when he spotted the birth certificate of his infant brother Darren.
His solicitor Jack Danaher told Barnsley Magistrates’ Court: “He decided completely out of the blue he didn’t like being Nigel Sharpe – and instead he became Darren Sharpe.”
Sharpe then applied for a National Insurance number in the name of his brother – who died three days after he was born, in February 1972.
He went on to receive state handouts including incapacity benefit and income support for five years.
Sharpe, of Doncaster Road, Ardsley, Barnsley, who has previous convictions for theft and perverting the course of justice by giving a false name to police over a public order offence, admitted benefit fraud.
Mr Danaher said the jobless former forklift truck driver and security guard had not led a lavish lifestyle on the proceeds. He had problems with gambling and alcohol and ran up £15,000 debts, which he had taken out bank loans to try to repay.
“As time went by he buried his head in the sand and didn’t know how to get out of it,” he said.