A managing director who falsely claimed to have been a decorated Royal Navy Captain
will not face any criminal charges.
Imposter Stuart Elliot duped servicemen - including Falklands hero Simon Weston - into
thinking he had commanded ships during the 1982 Argentinian conflict.
However, despite admitting his deception, he has escaped with a police
warning. The punishment has sparked fury among those he duped, including genuine war
Elliot is understood to have claimed to have been a Falklands veteran who served
aboard HMS Coventry, a destroyer sunk on May 25, 1982, with the loss of 19 crew.
He even turned up to memorial services for 20 years decorated in medals. Falklands
hero Simon Weston was even invited to open the premises of Elliot's company.
However, in reality, the most the father-of-three had done was to serve on a Hull
tug-boat set to 'mop up' debris left over from the Falklands war. He was sent to the islands to relieve the crew of the Irishman some three weeks after
the invading Argentine force surrendered to British forces. Elliot claimed to have been a Falklands veteran, like hero Simon Weston
It is thought Elliott, a married 52-year-old, may have been living his lie for 20 years
before officers arrested him on suspicion of fraud and offences under the Uniforms Act
Elliott was convicted of drink-driving in 2010 and, when applying for his licence back,
told the DVLA he was a Captain. Despite admitting his deception, Elliot escaped facing a court over his lies and was
instead given a police caution. Elliot's fantasy was exposed when 87-year-old veteran Frank Stevenson noticed he
was wearing his medals in the wrong order and that one ribbon - awarded to veterans
of the 2003 Iraq war, was displayed upside down. Mr Stevenson said he felt honoured when Elliott approached him at the Rugby Tavern in
Hull, East Yorkshire, following a Remembrance Day parade at the city's war memorial in
2010. The veteran believed he was talking to an officer and even asked a friend to take the
snap of the handshake.
Stevenson, a pensioner who rose through the ranks to become a petty officer on board
a warship, said he felt sickened and ashamed at being duped by Elliott.
He added: 'I don't think that man would have lasted long during the war. 'Captains are responsible for their crew and their ship. Back then, everyone was scared
but you just got on with it. 'I was shocked and disgusted when I saw the story in the Mail exposing him. He was
certainly very convincing and had the gift of the gab.'
Stevenson's disgust at Elliott's claim was echoed by veterans across the country who
had been waiting for the findings of the police investigation. Bob Reeves, honorary secretary of the Royal Naval Association (Hull branch), said he
had been invited to an Armed Forces Day dinner, adding: 'It was a disgrace what he
did. We took him at face value and he lied to us.'
A set of 'dolphins', as worn by members of the Royal Navy Submariners Service, was
also sported by Elliott. Both Royal Navy and Military of Defence sources said they had no record of Elliott
having ever served. After he was exposed, Elliott was branded 'Walt' - an abbreviation of the name 'Walter
Mitty'. The name comes from a short story by the American comic author James Thurber,
Secret Life of Walter Mitty, in which the eponymous hero fantasises about being a
military hero. Following an investigation by Humberside Police and the Ministry of Defence, Mr Elliott
received a verbal caution for fraud by false representation in relation to making a false
declaration to obtain a driving licence. Mr Elliott, managing director of TC Power
Ltd, a gas turbine maintenance firm based in Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire, issued an apology to veterans through his solicitor.
Max Gold said: 'Mr Elliott had no intention of upsetting or causing harm to any veteran.
'If any veteran has been offended, it is very much regretted. Mr Elliott is genuinely
Catherine Ainsworth, District Crown Prosecutor, said: 'We advised Humberside Police
that the investigation, as presented to us, did not reveal sufficient evidence for
this case to be referred to a crown prosecutor for a charging decision.'
The investigation into Mr Elliott is now closed.