Fraudster's 'James Bond' lifestyle exposed

WHEN a marina boss in Suffolk was asked by a bank to remove one of his customer's boats from its moorings, little did he realise what he was letting himself in for.

Anthony Bond

WHEN a marina boss in Suffolk was asked by a bank to remove one of his customer's boats from its moorings, little did he realise what he was letting himself in for.

What followed was an extraordinary tale of deceit and fraud by a supposed James Bond-style secret agent which eventually led to the police being conned and a man being sent to prison for two years.

It all started at Waveney River Centre near Beccles in December 2006.

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The managing director, James Knight, 41, was asked by a bank to secure Michael Newitt's £200,000 Princess 440 motor cruiser due to financial problems.

Mr Knight duly obliged - despite knowing the smart 41-year-old from Leicestershire as a pleasant and sociable customer, he often had difficulty in receiving payments from him.

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But it left father-of-five Newitt upset.

“He came to my office and said 'I am not the bloke you thought I was - I am really an intelligence officer working for the secret service',” said Mr Knight. “He then showed me a gun which was attached to him in order to back up the fact that he was an intelligence officer.

“I do not know why he decided to tell me that he was in the intelligence services. But when I saw the warrant card I thought that it must be something, why would you have a warrant card and a gun?

Newitt said he was an intelligence officer working on counter-terrorism intelligence operations in Leicester.

Somehow he managed to get the bank off his back and he was able to use his motor cruiser again. Although suspicious, Mr Knight let the incident go and got on with running his business.

But five months later Newitt's bank once again contacted Mr Knight and requested that his vessel be secured.

This sparked a row between the two men, which led Mr Knight to shout at Newitt that he did not believe anything he was told “ever since that James Bond nonsense last year.”

Shortly after the row, Mr Knight received a letter headed by the Major Incident Team (SO14) Central Region which demanded that he attend a formal interview in London.

He was told the purpose of the meeting was to discuss disclosure made by one of its officers.

It was requested by Commanding Officer Michael Newitt, who had the letters CMG - standing for a high-ranking award fictitiously presented to James Bond in the story From Russia with Love - printed after his name.

Mr Knight decided enough was enough and contacted the police. But despite nothing resulting from the police investigation and Newitt's bank allowing him once again to use his boat, Mr Knight had had enough. He told Newitt to find alternative moorings and thought he had seen and heard the last of his troublesome customer.

However, earlier this year Mr Knight received a phone call from a police officer who saw through Newitt's sham and began checking his background.

Police officers subsequently pounced and at Leicester Crown Court last Friday full details of his extraordinary fantasy life were revealed.

The court heard how he tricked an officer at Hinckley police station, in Leicestershire, into giving him a new pocket book by announcing himself as “Commander Newitt” with the Metropolitan Police.

His fake ID documents were carried in a leather wallet emblazoned with a crown. He even fitted his car with blue strobe lights and a siren and used the vehicle to arrest a suspected drink-driver on the M6 before handing him into local police.

The court heard that he would even wear a pistol holster and would sleep beside one of his replica guns, which included a 007-style Walther pistol with a silencer.

He would race out of his house in Osgathorpe, near Loughborough, with his wife assuming he was going on a special mission.

On Friday he was sent to prison for two years after admitting a number of charges including carrying fake ID cards, fraud and falsely suggesting he was a police officer.

Adrian Harris, prosecuting, said: “He's a conman and a fantasist who's styled himself as a James Bond character. His life has been a spectacular illusion.”

The court was told that he first used his fictional persona “Commander Newitt” at Waveney River Centre back in December 2006.

But Mr Knight has no hard feelings against his former customer.

“He was a very nice convincing kind of guy who you could stand in a bar with and have a beer,” he said. “He came over as pretty genuine. I do not have any ill feeling towards him, I just feel a bit sorry for him. It was quite hard not to like the guy because he was very convincing and very friendly.”

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