Alleged sex attacker from Northampton lived under fake name for 12 years until he was pulled over by police
A Northampton man who changed his identity 12 years ago shortly after skipping bail on sexual assault charges, claimed he did so because his life was in danger from his relatives in Pakistan.
In 2004 a warrant was issued for the arrest of Sheraz Akram, after he failed to attend a court hearing on a charge of indecent assault.
But Northampton Crown Court yesterday heard how the father of three had, in November of that year, used a fake passport to get a driving licence in the name of Mohammed Chaudhry.
He carried on living a normal life under that fake name, even opening bank accounts as a Mr Chaudhry.
But the net closed on the 41-year-old when he was pulled over by police in August this year, with his wife and children travelling in the car with him.
At the time he gave his name as Mohammed Chaudury and produced a licence bearing his new identity. But checks on the national police database found he was in fact Akram, and therefore a wanted man, and he was arrested.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing an identity document with improper intent, a criminal offence under the Identity Documents Act, in October.
But at his sentencing hearing yesterday, the court heard how Akram did not accept that he changed his identity to avoid being facing the sex assault charges.
Prosecuting, Caroline Bradley, said: "He feared prosecution if he returned Pakistan, claiming other family members had been killed.
He said his life was in peril because of a disagreement over the sale of family property and because he married against the will of "members of the community."
Judge Sarah Lucking QC adjourned the sentencing for a further hearing to determine whether his version of events could stack up.
She said that his sentence would be far greater if he had indeed changed his identity to avoid the courts than if he genuinely feared persecution in his native land.
The judge said: "There is an issue as to why you obtained those documents.
"The only way for that to be resolved is for me to hear all the evidence about it in due course."
The court also heard how the alleged victim in the indecent assault matter "could not be traced."
Akram was remanded in custody and told the next hearing would take place in 2017.