March 2016: Now living in Fisher Road, Bishops Itchington, Warwickshire
Con man jailed for pretending to be Met Police officer & child abuse images
A con man who spent years pretending to his friends and family that he was a Metropolitan Police Officer has been jailed.
Stuart Howatson, 31, from Bewdley in Worcestershire, even convinced his wife that he was a serving officer, claiming to have filled various roles in royal protection, firearms and dog handling.
To account for the long commute to his workplace, he also claimed to be a senior officer on sabbatical.
On the couple’s wedding day in 2006, he had a place laid for former Met Chief Constable Sir John Stevens, explaining his non-attendance away in his speech as being down to security issues.
After honeymooning at a Spanish villa owned by friends, he offered to buy the property for £720,000 and convinced them that a inheritance windfall meant he had the funds to buy without a mortgage.
He stalled the supposed purchase with a series of bounced cheques and excuses for two years, during which time he enjoyed several free stays at the £1200-a-week property.
As proof that his finances were sound, he produced false bank statements showing monthly deposits from ‘Met Police’ and ‘MPA’.
In 2007, he gave an educational talk, in uniform, at a nursery school where a family friend worked, talking about police work to the children and showing them examples of police batons.
Howatson was arrested at his home in Millside Court, Bewdley, in October 2008 after friends became suspicious and tipped off the Met’s Anti-Corruption Command.
A search of his home uncovered a substantial amount of uniform, which he later claimed to have bought on eBay.
Police also found a number indecent images of children on Howatson’s computers, for which he was further arrested.
Howatson was sentenced to 20 months in prison. He pleaded guilty over several hearings at Worcester Crown Court to possession of articles of police uniform; possession of an offensive weapon; false accounting; fraud by false representation and possession of and making indecent images of children.
In sentencing, the judge described him as “a common trickster and a con man”.