'David Onamade' guilty of ID-theft fraud

The fake Onamade was eventually found out when he tried to claim benefits after his charity folded

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A former head of Somerset's Racial Equality Council has been found guilty of fraud after stealing another man's identity.

The man, who claimed to be David Onamade, was also convicted of trying to claim benefits and possessing documents for use in attempt of fraud.

Taunton Crown Court heard he got hold of the identity of the real David Onamade, an autistic man from London.

The court heard even his former partner did not know he was living a lie.

The man, whose real name is still unknown, was found guilty of all charges.

The court was told he had lived with another man's identity for more than 20 years.

The jury found him found guilty of three charges of fraudulently trying to claim benefits and two charges of possessing documents - a birth certificate and a driving licence - for use in connection with fraud.

Birth certificate of David Onamade The court heard the accused may have bought David Onamade's birth certificate in Nigeria

This case came to light when the Somerset Racial Equality Council closed last year and the accused, who had been its director for nine years, tried to claim Jobseeker's Allowance.

The National Insurance number he gave belonged to a David Onamade from London.

In his position as Director of the Somerset Racial Equality Council he was once invited to Downing Street to meet prime minister Tony Blair.

It is not clear how he got hold of Mr Onamade's identity, but the jury was told he may have bought his birth certificate in Nigeria.

The bogus David Onamade lived in the West Country with his partner for 10 years.

During the trial, Helen Everett, who is the mother of Mr Onamade's children, told the court he introduced himself as Steven Douglas when they met.

'Very distressed'

He moved in with her in Bristol in 1992, and when they were packing books she found a birth certificate in a different name - David Onamade.

She said he told her this was his family name, which he never used because his father tried to control him and he wanted to live independently.

The mother of the real David Onamade, a 52-year-old autistic man from London, told the court she became aware that other people were trying to use her son's identity when spurious letters kept arriving in the post.

Speaking to the BBC ahead of the verdict, she said: "How could it be allowed to happen to him? I was very disappointed and very distressed."

The accused was sentenced to nine months in jail, but because he has already served 13 months on remand he walked free from court.

Judge Jeffrey Mercer said: "You have used copies of the birth certificate belonging to another person.

"Your future in this country has to be uncertain but that is not a matter for this court. Your status here is not part of my remit."

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