'Real Jackal' mystery solved

Contributed by editor on May 06, 2006 - 05:19 PM


The mystery of  a man arrested in January of last year as he tried to enter Dover from Calais, with a passport of a dead person has been solved.

He served nine months in a Kent prison over the false passport incident but after completing the sentence has remained in jail because he refuses to reveal his true identity.

The mystery detainee who allegedly created a bogus identity as an English nobleman by assuming the name of a dead baby is actually an American who went missing from Florida more than 20 years ago, relatives of the man say.

He goes by the title of the Earl of Buckingham, but he is really an Orlando native named Charles Stopford, his father Charles and sister Rebecca Davis say in a documentary that will be broadcast o­n Sky o­ne television o­n Sunday.

Police in Kent declined to comment o­n the case.

The relatives said they saw photos of the fake lord o­n the Internet along with a story this week in The Times and concluded he is Stopford.

British media have dubbed the man The Real Jackal — an allusion to Frederick Forsythe's novel "The Day of the Jackal," which made famous the trick of using information from a baby's tombstone to create an identity.

He has two English children by a woman from whom he is now divorced, and all three are described as stupefied by news that he is not the man they thought he was.

The Times said police in Kent have sent fingerprint and DNA samples to the United States to try to determine the man's identity.