[ Sgt Michael Willetts & Sgt Walter Beard ]

John Livesey

[ Cap Badge ]

[ 2 Para ]

[ 2 Para ]

[ 3 Para ]

[ 4 Para ]

He had told colleagues at the Duxford Imperial War Museum, and his closest family, that he was a Falkland’s War hero who served with distinction in the Parachute Regiment.
He even claimed to have advised production crews working on the films Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers. In fact the 57-year-old’s army career amounted to a stint in the Catering Corps between 1971 and 1974. He had put forward military references to escape an immediate jail sentence for benefit fraud in 2004. Even his referees did not realise he was lying and, after conviction for doing an act tending to pervert the course of justice at Peterborough Crown Court last August, he was jailed for three years.
His legal team tried to convince three senior judges at the Court of Appeal in London yesterday that he had been too harshly punished. But Lord Justice Davis said Livesey, of Nursery Gardens, Purley-on-Thames, Berkshire, was guilty of “cringing self-pity” and dismissed his appeal. The references told of a distinguished military career, involving numerous completed tours in Northern Ireland and service during the Falklands War. In fact, as the News uncovered, Livesey had been a member of the Catering Corps for only two-and-a-half years before he was discharged medically unfit. He had been injured jumping out of a window and assessed as having a hysterical personality disorder.

It was for his sentencing hearing after admitting six benefits fraud crimes in 2004 that he put forward the references detailing his fantasy past. They helped win him a suspended sentence. His barrister, Roger Harrison, argued before Lord Justice Davis, Mr Justice Treacy and Judge Peter Collier QC that the three-year sentence was too tough. His dishonesty may have been over years, but the crime had been only on the day of his sentencing for the benefits fraud in 2004, he said. A report, discounted by the sentencing judge, said Livesey was unable to distinguish between reality and his imagination, which must have been the cause of the offending, Mr Harrison said. He added: “What stronger mitigation can there be in a case which involves perverting the course of justice?” Rejecting the appeal, Lord Justice Davis said: “It has to be said the impression given is that there is a distinct element of cringing self-pity here, which is by no means attractive. “It was planned, in the sense that the references were obtained from these two innocent referees, and they were deployed with a view of achieving the purpose of getting a lesser sentence than he otherwise might have done.

“The question here is whether a sentence of three years’ imprisonment after a trial was excessive for this particular offending.
“We don’t think it can be so-styled given the circumstances and, in the result, the appeal is dismissed.” Livesey was caught out after he falsely claimed £30,000 in benefits while working at Duxford’s Imperial War Museum. He had provided references from veterans including Air Commodore Peter Thorne and Major Gordon Corrigan, who served in the Royal Gurkha Rifles and was made an MBE in 1995.

[ John Livesey ]

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