Conman who posed as Mercedes Formula 1 team official to be sentenced


A serial conman who posed as the chief operations officer of the Mercedes Formula 1 team to dupe hotel staff is due in court for sentencing.

Stuart Howatson also committed fraud by using his supposed position with Northamptonshire-based Mercedes to agree to buy computer security systems worth 1.1 million US dollars, £224,000 and 23,904 euro.

The 37-year-old - who was jailed in 2010 for inventing an illustrious police career - is facing further time behind bars after pleading guilty to 12 counts of fraud and a theft.

It is understood the offences between January and September 2014 netted food and accommodation worth almost £2,800 at hotels in Kidderminster and Leamington Spa.

Howatson, then living in Bewdley, Worcestershire, was jailed for 20 months at Hereford Crown Court six years ago after claiming to have served with the Metropolitan Police as an armed officer, dog handler and a protection officer to the Queen.

The fraudster, now of Fisher Road, Bishops Itchington, Warwickshire, was due to be sentenced for his latest offences at Warwick Crown Court on Friday last week but a doctor's note was presented in court by Howatson's barrister.

Judge Alan Parker read the letter from Howatson's GP which stated: "This gentleman is under the mental health crisis team, following an overdose, and is unable to attend court until March 7."

Howatson was first before the judge on February 11, but his sentencing was put off for 24 hours to make way for another case.

He then failed to attend the next day, and again last week claiming he was unwell.

At the hearing on Friday, the judge was initially unsatisfied by the GP's note and issued a warrant for Howatson's arrest but it was later withdrawn following submissions by the conman's legal team, according to his solicitors.

The case has now been re-scheduled to take place on Monday.

Before his 2006 wedding, Howatson is reported to have told guests that former Met commissioner Sir John Stevens - who had a seat allocated to him - had been unable to attend due to a security issue.