Ghanaian Woman Admits Passport Scam

PT       2002-10-12 
A Ghanaian woman has admitted using a dead baby’s birth certificate to obtain a British passport for herself. Cecilia Cole, 33 pleaded guilty to dishonestly obtaining from the Home Office, a British passport on April 16, 1997, by falsely presenting herself as Angela Anderson, a baby who died just a week after it was born in 1969. Cole, who is now married to a British man and seven months pregnant, was arrested earlier this week as part of a national police crackdown on passport fraud.
Mandy Rowlatt, prosecuting at Wellingborough Magistrates Court, said: “On Tuesday, a search was carried out at Cole’s house, and she gave her name as Angela Anderson. “Documents including bank and credit card details were seized.”
Mrs Rowlatt said Cole then gave her true identity to police. Mrs Rowlatt said Cole’s accounts had been run satisfactorily, although obviously fraudulently, because they were in a false name.
In mitigation, Amo Baines said Cole co-operated fully with police and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
He said Cole fled from Ghana to this country in 1994 to escape violence from her husband and went to live in London. A friend suggested she apply for a passport in the name of Angela Anderson.
Mr Baines said: “She wanted to cancel her own identity because she was afraid her ex-husband would find her and she’d be subjected to considerable violence.” He said Cole, who has a son who was born in England, realised the seriousness of her actions and has already changed a number of her documents back to her real name.
The magistrates declined jurisdiction, saying they felt their powers insufficient to deal with such a serious offence. Cole was given conditional bail until November 8, when she will appear at Northampton Crown Court.