Social media is (or was) abuzz over the quadriplegic bloke who wasn’t. And why not? Accounts of defendants indefinitely postponing criminal proceedings through feigned physical disability aren’t everyday stuff.
The story comes out of Wales, where a man appears to have taken a page out of the Buster Bluth handbook. The underlying allegation against Alan Knight was that he swindled an elderly neighbor out of something close to $65,000. Prosecutors accused him of claiming to be a caregiver for the man, who suffered from dementia, but really draining the fellow’s savings over the course of three years.
Caught on Tape
Once faced with charges for the alleged theft, Knight reportedly perpetuated a much more impressive fraud. The defendant and his wife asserted that, when pulling down a garage door, he fell backwards and broke his neck. The accident, their story went, left him quadriplegic and at times comatose. Knight even admitted himself to the hospital on two or more occasions when he otherwise would have been in court.
You might assume that the plan fell apart when, you know, doctors determined that the guy wasn’t actually quadriplegic or comatose. But the accused malingerer’s ultimate downfall may have come from—above all else—food shopping.
The authorities acquired what they say is surveillance footage of Knight travelling by car and strolling around in a chain of grocery stores. And, in case he were tempted to mount a “That isn’t me!” defense, they said they had a corresponding record of use of his Tesco Club Card at the stores in question.
News reports don’t make clear whether Knight incurred additional charges because of the alleged medical act. But they do indicate that he recently pleaded guilty to 19 counts of theft, fraud, and forgery, and that Judge Paul Thomas isn’t leaning toward leniency.
Thomas, exhibiting what might be a bit of United Kingdom tact, observed that “[a]ttempts to make progress have been thwarted by Mr. Knight pretending to be ill.” Thomas went on to remark, “Although a very accomplished and determined actor, he is nothing like in the condition he claims to be, and the conditions he claims to be suffering from are simply non-existent.”