'I've been living a lie for too long': The 53-year-old British father who faked his own death after wife's breast op in Moscow found sleeping rough on Thai airport bench
By TOM KELLY
Last updated at 11:31 PM on 29th July 2011


Weaving his way along a Bangkok street, Stephen Kellaway looks like just another ageing hippie enjoying the relaxed Thai lifestyle.
In fact, he is a middle-class British psychologist who officially died almost two years ago.
The 53-year-old father of two faked his death during a family trip to Moscow, where his wife had breast enlargement surgery, to avoid jail for swindling 50,000 benefits.
Since then he has been living in Asia, mainly on the proceeds of the 1million property empire the couple built up in London.
The Daily Mail tracked him down to Bangkok, where he was sleeping rough after his payments from the UK had been temporarily halted.
There, he admitted: 'I've been lying about who I am for too long. It is a life of constant anxiety and uncertainty.'
The son of an engineer, Kellaway met his third wife, Nelli, in a pub during the mid-1990s when he was running a counselling service in West London. They have a daughter and son aged 11 and nine, who were sent to private school.
Kellaway earned 100,000 a year from his practice. He and Nelli, now 42, bought six houses and flats in the South East. To help pay their multiple mortgages and school fees, they fraudulently claimed housing benefit on their property portfolio.
Realising the police were closing in, they went on holiday with their children to Russia, where Nelli had her breast operation and her husband faked his death by bribing a mortuary worker to place his passport on the body of a tramp.
Nelli returned to London with an urn which she said contained Kellaway's ashes. Facing court for the fraud, she convinced a jury that her 'abusive' husband had forced her into it and escaped with a suspended sentence.
Meanwhile Kellaway was travelling the world on a false passport which he secured using the birth certificate of a dead child a ruse inspired by the Frederick Forsyth thriller The Day Of The Jackal.


As the Mail reported last year, he was spotted several times back in England, where he visited his parents in Brighton. But when we caught up with him, he was chain smoking 50p-a-packet local cigarettes at Bangkok airport, where he was begging for money and sleeping on benches.
His entire belongings comprised two t-shirts, a pair of combat trousers, a shoulder bag and a filthy pair of flip-flops after the rest of his possessions were stolen.
'Parts of my life on the run were very James Bond, but parts were also very squalid, and I wouldn't recommend what I have done'



Stephen Kellaway
He said he is so terrified of being caught that he does not have a mobile phone and his only communication with home is through a single email account which he shares with his wife in London.
He said: 'Parts of my life on the run were very James Bond, but parts were also very squalid, and I wouldn't recommend what I have done.
'I'm sure that within a couple of years of doing the Great Train Robbery, Ronnie Biggs was sick of being a wanted man living abroad. It's not glamorous. You have to associate with undesirables ranging from petty thieves to violent gangsters to get the documentation you require or to help you get in and out of countries.
'I've only been able to speak to my kids a few times since I've been abroad and I miss them terribly.
'I'm also so used to inventing stories about who I am that I have no sense of what reality is any more.'



Penniless: Kellaway sleeping in the lounge of Bangkok Airport. He travelled the world on a false passport which he secured using the birth certificate of a dead child - a ruse inspired by the Frederick Forsyth thriller The Day Of The Jackal
Kellaway began planning his scam in 2008, shortly after the arrest of John Darwin, who faked death by vanishing in a canoe as part of a 680,000 insurance fraud.
'It seemed the answer to my problems,' he said. 'I could escape jail for my benefits fraud, my wife would get a 2million life insurance payout and then I could return and move our family abroad to live off the cash.'
Kellaway used the birth certificate of a boy who died aged seven in Belfast to get a Republic of Ireland passport as is permitted for those born in Northern Ireland.
He said: 'It's a loophole which, for political reasons with the situation in Ireland, the British will probably never be able to close.
'The wonderful thing is that, once you have done it, you have watertight identification documents.
'The passport had my photo and even had biometrics for my eyes, so when I used it to fly from Gatwick Airport I was fast-tracked through the immigration queue.
'I also used it to get a Lloyds bank account in England and a driver's licence, giving me everything I needed to exist as a new person.'
After returning overland to England he learned that the benefit fraud investigators had seized a laptop and notes containing details from his home of how he planned to use the cash from the life insurance payout, so he felt unable to go ahead with that scam.


Read more: 'I've been living a lie for too long': The 53-year-old British father who faked his own death after wife's breast op in Moscow found sleeping rough on Thai airport bench | Mail Online