Conman who posed as Mercedes F1 chief 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 to be sentenced.

The hearing at Warwick Crown Court was adjourned when Stuart Howatson, who has pleaded guilty to 12 counts of fraud and a theft, did not turn up for sentencing last week.

Howatson, 37, 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.

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.

Judge Alan Parker was told that Howatson, of Fisher Road, Bishops Itchington, Warwickshire, had been admitted to hospital after being bailed overnight by the court because there was insufficient time to deal with his case.

In adjourning sentencing from last week, the judge told Howatson's barrister: "He looked fine to me yesterday.

"My currently provisional view, knowing all that I know about him, is that he is engaged in a process of trying to avoid the outcome."

The court heard Howatson's mother had telephoned his barrister after her son was taken to hospital by paramedics.

The judge was told that Howatson - said to be in a suicidal, troubled and anxious state - was being assessed by medical staff.

Howatson - who was jailed in 2010 for inventing an illustrious police career - is now facing further time behind bars for the current fraud and theft charges.

He 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.

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.