THE brother of a baby whose identity was stolen by canoe con man John Darwin has welcomed moves to close a loophole in a bid to prevent birth certificate fraud.
Darwin (left), 61, used a plot similar to the one in the Frederick Forsyth classic The Day of the Jackal and stole the identity of dead baby John Jones before faking his death at sea in an insurance scam that saw him jailed for more than six years.
He obtained a passport by using a birth certificate for John, who was born in Sunderland in 1950 but died aged just 34 days.
John’s brother Alf, from Pallion, has campaigned for the birth certificates of dead children to be marked to ensure they cannot be used fraudulently.
Sarah Rapson, chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service, wrote to Alf to offer her support for the idea.
She said: “We have not ruled out the possibility of annotating birth certificates to show that the person named has died.
“In my earlier letters I explained the legal and practical issues that exist in adopting this particular course of action.
“There would be a need for legislation to be introduced allowing annotations to be made, and a need for an effective system to be in place enabling death records to be linked to the relevant birth records.
“I explained difficulties exist in successfully linking information where the death data does not correspond exactly to the birth data.
“However, as I have indicated, this measure remains a desirable option for consideration.
“We continue to look at ways of developing and implementing effective measures to tackle the threat it poses with regard to the use of birth certificates.”
Darwin has refused the chance to explain his actions to Alf and his six surviving siblings, who are angered by the claim that his scam was “victimless”.
Any changes in the law would be a victory for the Jones family.
Alf, 54, said: “I don’t think I’m asking for too much. The Government has being dragging its feet for 40 years. Frederick Forsyth said in 1972 that there was a loophole which needed to be closed.
“He suggested a dye stamp on any birth certificate issued for the deceased was the answer. Something so simple can make such a massive difference.
“I don’t want was happened to us to happen to other families.
“But it is now 2011 and we are no further forward.”
Darwin scoured birth and death records searching for a name to use after his “death” before he disappeared in 2002.
The Jones fake ID was used on trips to Panama City and Costa Rica.
The ploy was straight from the pages of The Day of the Jackal. The protagonist, played in the film by actor Edward Fox, trawls graveyards for the headstone of a baby boy who, had he not died, would have been about the same age as the assassin.
Darwin was jailed in 2008 for six years and three months after admitting fraud. His wife Anne, 60, was jailed for six years and six months after a trial. Both were released earlier this year.