24 Jun 2013

Killer may have committed fraud in NZ

10:09 pm on 24 June 2013

An Australian detective says a British convict on the run may have committed thousands of dollars of credit card fraud while visiting New Zealand illegally.

Simon Hennessey was jailed for life after stabbing his aunt 70 times in Plymouth, England, in 1978. He was 14 when convicted of murder, admitting the crime on the grounds that he was mentally ill. He escaped from an open prison in Gloucestershire in 1998.

Last week, police in the Australian state of Queensland arrested the 49-year-old after he returned from a trip to New Zealand where he had been travelling on a false passport under the name Robert Jeffrey.

Sunshine Coast CIB chief Daren Edwards told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Monday police believe that Hennessey set up fake businesses in New Zealand and recorded customers' credit card numbers upon payment.

"He would purport to be either a courier or some other type of business and seek payment off people for delivery of items. When they used their credit card he was able to copy their card and then he would use that card to basically take money from their bank accounts."

Mr Edwards said Simon Hennessey could have defrauded customers of up to $100,000 and the New Zealand police are also investigating him.

Hennessey has appeared in a Queensland court on fraud charges related to credit-card scams and the British police have applied for his extradition.