'Court misled' over Army career

A man has denied perverting the course of justice after a court was told he served in the Parachute Regiment when he was actually in the Catering Corps.

John Livesey was convicted of fraud for claiming about £30,000 in benefits when working at a Cambridgeshire museum.

In his mitigation the court was told he had served in the Parachute Regiment.

The 57-year-old, of Purley-on-Thames, Berkshire, was given a suspended jail term for his good character following the fraud trial in 2004.

Peterborough Crown Court heard that Livesey, who had worked at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, told friends and colleagues he had served with distinction in the Parachute Regiment and that he had been awarded a medal for gallantry.

'Fantasy world'

In fact his army career amounted to a stint in the Catering Corps between 1971 and 1974, the court heard.

He has admitted making up his career, but denies perverting the course of justice because he does not remember Army references, containing false information, being used in mitigation.

Investigations following this conviction found references submitted by senior military veterans were based on false claims made by Livesey.

Giving evidence, Livesey's former partner historian Bridget Pollard said despite living together, she had been convinced that he was telling the truth about his past until his story began to unfold following his conviction.

She said: "I now know he lived in a fantasy world as compensation for the life he had to live after leaving the army because he was found medically unfit."

Major Gordon Corrigan, who served in the Royal Gurkha Rifles and was made an MBE in 1995, who provided a reference, told the court he "felt a fool" that he had misled the earlier hearing but it "was not deliberate".

In his police interview, Livesey told officers: "I built this fictional guy up which was better than admitting the failure that was my military career."

The case continues.

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