7 Sep 2012

Riots fantasist who posed as policeman is jailed

A conman who posed as a Metropolitan police inspector during last year’s Tottenham riots is jailed for five years.

A conman who posed as a Metropolitan Police Inspector during last year's Tottenham riots is jailed for five years.

Ellis Ward, 29, set up a Twitter page in the name of Inspector Winter to blog about his experiences and attracted more than 3,000 followers.

He gave TV interviews about his supposed involvement in last year’s riots and was paid by £600 by the Daily Telegraph for a column called On the Frontline.

He was able to pass through police cordons using false documents and visited officers at a respite centre, where he gave some of his broadcast interviews.

At the time Ward was involved in relationships with three women from various parts of the south and south east of England, in order to dupe them out of thousands of pounds by taking out credit cards or loans in their names.

He told them he was a Metropolitan police acting inspector heavily involved in the London riots.

Another of his stories was that he was in the Met’s counter-terrorism branch but had to leave after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress. He defrauded that woman of £40,000 though misuse of her credit cards.

Ex-girlfriends told police that Ward carried police paraphernalia including false warrant cards, real handcuffs, stop-and-search forms, witness statement forms and police pocket books to help create the deception.

Ellis also posed as an army major who’d been injured by an improvised explosive device while serving in Iraq.

The true extent of his deception may never be known. Nikki Haywood

Nikki Haywood, district crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Pure greed drove him to prey on another victim while he was having a long term relationship with a woman in Hertfordshire.

“There are no doubts that Ellis Ward’s behaviour has been reprehensible and we hope that the victims in this case, who probably still suffer from the impact of his offending, will now be able to move on with their lives.”

“The true extent of his deception may never be known.”

Ward, who pleaded guilty to 18 charges of fraud, was today sentenced at Winchester crown court to a total of seven and a half years and will serve five.

Judge Peter Ralls QC told him: “You engaged yourself in a deception of quite staggering complexity. You lived a complete lie. You were in effect creating a fantasy world for yourself.”