October 31, 2008 / 3:47 PM / 10 years ago

British court sends would-be 007 to jail

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A man who acted out a double life as a would-be James Bond, calling himself “Commander Newitt” and carrying a replica Glock 9mm pistol, was jailed for two years by a British court on Friday.

As well as playing at being the fictional secret agent, Michael Newitt pretended to be a policeman, fitted his car with a siren and blue strobe lights and went so far as to arrest a suspected drunk driver.

He had the letters CMG — an award fictitiously presented to Bond in Ian Fleming’s “From Russia with Love” — printed after his name.

Even his wife believed him when he said he was to conduct “special missions,” the Press Association news agency reported.

“He’s a con man and a fantasist who’s styled himself as a James Bond character. His life has been a spectacular illusion,” prosecutor Adrian Harris told Leicester Crown Court.

Newitt, 41, who lives near Loughborough in central England, was finally exposed when a policeman became suspicious of his “Commander” title.

Defense lawyer Gary Short said Newitt had low self-esteem and sought respect by adopting a false personality.

Newitt was jailed for committing fake identity card offences, fraudulently claiming to be a police officer, carrying two imitation firearms, falsely suggesting he was a police officer and possessing articles of police uniform.

Reporting by John Joseph; Editing by Paul Casciato

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