Man jailed over plot to dump US pensioner

Roger Curry in hospital

Image caption

A BBC Panorama investigation revealed Mr Curry’s identity and that his home was in Los Angeles

A man who plotted to dump a vulnerable American pensioner in England so he could be treated for free on the NHS has been jailed.

Roger Curry, who had dementia, was discovered in a Hereford bus station car park on 5 November 2015.

Worcester Crown Court was told Simon Hayes was part of the plot to “abandon [Mr Curry] so he could receive care from local health care providers”.

Hayes, 53, claimed he had found Mr Curry “face down” in a country lane.

Mr Curry, who is in his 70s, was found without any identification, but later traced to Los Angeles after an international campaign for information.

Simon Davis QC, prosecuting, said Hayes, of Henlade, Somerset, had told police a “pack of lies” which led them on a “wild goose chase”.

However, his motivations for getting involved in the plot remain unclear.

The court heard Mr Curry was cared for in a residential home for eight months – at a cost to the NHS of up to £20,000 – before being flown back to the United States in July 2016.

Mr Davis said Hayes had exchanged a series of texts and calls with “best mate” Kevin Curry, the victim’s son.

Kevin Curry flew with his mother and father to London Gatwick in November 2015, but later left without his father.

Fake military uniform

Mr Davis said it “clearly” been planned to “dump” Mr Curry so he could receive care from local health care providers.

Hayes, in a fake military uniform and putting on an American accent, took Mr Curry to Hereford bus station, close to the city’s hospital, the court heard.

He told a nurse and paramedics he had found Mr Curry but could not give any contact details because he was “working with the SAS” at their nearby camp.

While appealing for information, police suspected Mr Curry had been deliberately abandoned.

After he was able to provide his name, they tracked down Kevin Curry in California, but he claimed nobody called Roger lived at his address.

Image copyright
Press Association

Image caption

Simon Hayes admitted perverting the course of justice in March

However, for reasons unknown, Hayes subsequently called West Mercia Police, identifying himself as the man who handed in Mr Curry.

But he again lied, claiming he and a “Canadian Army serviceman” had found Mr Curry, that he lived in Los Angeles, and at the time had been “attending a course” at the base, the court heard.

Police spoke to his father Ken, who Hayes claimed he had been visiting in Taunton. Mr Hayes confirmed his son knew Roger and Kevin Curry.

Hayes was arrested and in March admitted perverting the course of justice and a separate case of fraud, in relation to a false character reference.

He was jailed for two-and-a-half years earlier.

Enormous waste of resources

Mr Davis said Mr Curry’s son was under investigation in the US for elder abuse, fraud and kidnapping.

Kevin Curry previously told BBC’s Panorama his father had become unwell on a trip to the UK and he had left him with a friend to take him to hospital.

Judge Daniel Pearce-Higgins QC said Hayes’ false information caused “an enormous waste of police and public resources”.

“I cannot find any case remotely similar to the facts of this case, curiously because there appears to be no apparent benefit to the defendant,” he said.

Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *