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10 People Who Faked Their Own Death

people who faked their own death

Faking your death to escape from difficult problems is a thought that occurs in every person’s mind, but it is not as easy as it seems. Many people have faked their deaths and escaped from criminal charges, financial problems, marital problems, or when they want to be with their lover. Some of the people who faked their death get caught, and some get away with it. However, leaving your identity behind and creating a new one is difficult for some people, especially if you are heavily publicized. Let’s find out if faking your death is a good idea or not by looking at 10 cases of people who faked their death.

1. Anthony John Angel was a British criminal and serial offender. In 1966, he was caught stealing money and faked his suicide to escape the charges. After his escape, he married Patricia and had two children, all of whom he murdered in 1975. In 2002, he was convicted for murdering his wife and children.

Anthony John Angel
Eunice Yabsley, and Anthony John Allen. Image credit: BNPS/dailymail, bbc

Anthony John Angel was a British criminal and serial offender who murdered his wife and children in 1975. In 1966, he was caught stealing money from the wage packets at an office in which he worked.

To escape those charges and to get out of his failed marriage, Anthony faked his death. He drove to a nearby suicide spot, Beachy Head. He faked his suicide by leaving a pile of clothes with a note on the shore and swam to down the coast where fresh clothes were hidden.

In 1967, he moved to the north of England and changed his name to Allen to pursue a career in catering. He married a girl named Patricia. Allen got caught when a friend saw him on a street in Manchester. In 1968, he was convicted of theft and bigamy, he received a suspended prison sentence. In 1972, he divorced his first wife and legally married Patricia.

In 1975, the couple moved to Salcombe, Allen started an affair with a restaurant owner and widow, Mrs. Yabsley. When his wife and two children disappeared, he did not file a missing report and claimed that she left with the children in the car.

He was jailed in 2002 after Yabley published an autobiographical book about her relationship with Allen which mentioned that he had scratches on his hand when his wife disappeared. The case was reopened and Allen was convicted for murdering his wife and children. (1, 2)

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2. Arkady Babchenko, a journalist, was reported to have been shot dead on 29 May 2018. The next day, he appeared at the Ukrainian Security Service press conference in Ukraine. The ultimate goal for faking Babchenko’s murder was to catch the Ukrainian assassins who were planning the assassination and were allegedly sent by Russian Security Services operatives.

Arkady Babchenko
Arkady Babchenko. Image credit: EPA/bbc

Arkady Babchenko is a famous Russian print and television journalist. He fought in the First Chechen War in 1995 and volunteered in the Second Chechen War. Since then, he had been working as a presenter for the TV channel ATR.

On 29 May 2018, the news came that Babchenko was shot dead in his house in Kyiv, Ukraine. The death of Babchenko was widely reported around the world until Babchenko showed up in a press conference within 24 hours of his death.

Babchenko’s death was staged to reveal the Russian assassination plot. A sting operation was set up by Ukrainian Security Chief Vasyl Hrytsak to catch the Ukrainian assassins, and they successfully caught the assassins paid by Russian forces.

In the press conference, he said that he was informed about this operation a month ago and thanked the Ukrainian Security Services. (1, 2)

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3. David J. Friedland was a politician from Hudson Country, New Jersey. In 1978, he was elected to the US Senate and was convicted for racketeering charges in 1980. To escape the sentencing, he faked his death in a scuba diving accident. Two years later, he was caught in the Maldives running a chain of five scuba diving shops. 

David Friedland
(Right) Former New Jersey state Senator David Friedland. Image credits: Jake Putnam/Flickr

An American lawyer and politician, David J. Friedland, faked his death in 1980 while waiting for his sentence in a racketeering case. He served in the Democratic Party from 1966 to 1974 in Hudson Country, New Jersey, and then was elected to the US Senate in 1978.

In 1980, he was convicted for his role in arranging a $4 million loan for which he accepted a $360,000 bribe. He arranged loans from the pension fund of Teamsters Local 701 based in North Brunswick for the companies controlled by Barry S. Marlin.

In 1985, while he was awaiting sentencing, he faked his death in a scuba diving accident in the Bahamas. He used a fake US passport and traveled to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Two years later, he was found by Arthur Borinsky, a US  marshal from New Jersey, running a chain of five scuba diving shops. Later, after being arrested, he was sentenced to eight years in federal prison. (1, 2)

4. An American novelist, Ken Kesey, faked his death when he was arrested for marijuana possession in 1965. He parked his truck on a cliff-side road in California leaving a suicide note reading “Ocean, Ocean, I’ll beat you in the end.” He went to Mexico, but he was arrested after being caught several months later.

Ken Kesey
Ken Kesey, Further (on the right). Image credit: karsh, Rcarlberg/Wikimedia

Kenneth Elton Kesey, or Ken Kesey, was a 66-year-old famous novelist who wrote many successful novels in his lifetime. He also volunteered in an experiment related to new mind-altering drugs and worked in hospitals with patients which were used as a plot material in one of his novels.

In 1965, Ken Kesey faked his suicide when he was arrested for marijuana possession, which then was an illegal drug. He parked his vehicle on a cliff-side road near Eureka, CA with the help of his friends and left a suicide note reading “Ocean, Ocean, I’ll beat you in the end.”

With the help of his friend, he sought refuge in Mexico. After eight months of an FBI investigation, he was caught and sent to jail in Redwood City for five months. Later, in 2001, he died from liver complications in Eugene, Oregon. (1, 2

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5. Philip Anthony Sessarego was best known by his pen-name, Tom Carew. He was a British soldier and author and faked his death in 1993 in a car accident in Croatia. He reinvented his life in Belgium as Carew and published the best-selling book Jihad.

Philip Anthony Sessarego
Philip Anthony Sessarego. Image credit: dailymail.co.uk

Philip Anthony Sessarego was a British soldier, author, and adventurer who was best known by his pen-name, Tom Carew. He joined the British Army in 1971, but after failing to pass the S.A.S aptitude trials, he left the army in 1975.

In 1991, he faked his death to escape from paying alimony to his wife at their family home in Hereford. He faked his death by giving the impression of being killed in a car bombing in Croatia. He then relocated his life to Belgium.

In 1999, he wrote a book, Jihad: The Secret War in Afghanistan, describing his whole experience in the Afghan-Soviet War, which was published in 2000. Around 50,000 copies of his book Jihad were sold, and it became a best-selling book using his pen-name Tom Carew.

In 2001, when Tom Carew was being interviewed on British national television as a published author and military expert, his family recognized him, and his cover was blown. After the revelation that Tom Carew was a Philip Sessarego, his reputation was soiled. Later, he was found dead in a rented Antwerp garage. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning in 2009. (1, 2)

Also read: 10 People Who Faked Their Own Kidnapping for Shocking Reasons

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