Court hears Interpol in contact with 195 countries to identify mystery passport man

Interpol are in contact with their 195 member countries as they try to help gardaí to identify an elderly man who has been charged with allegedly using passports in the names of two babies born in the 1950’s who died just months after their birth.

Det Garda Padraig Hanley, of the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, told Cork District Court that investigations are still ongoing in multiple jurisdictions as they attempt to identify the man who has been in custody since last month.

The man, who speaks with an American accent, was arrested in Cork passport office last month when he was making an application. Gardaí previously indicated that the man has not given them any assistance as they attempt to find out his true identity.

Dt Garda Hanley said the fingerprints of the man are still being circulated by Interpol.

“We have received some responses — not from everybody. Investigations are still ongoing with Interpol and internationally. I know for a fact that investigations are still ongoing with the US.”

Det Garda Morris said that the UK’s National Crime Agency and authorities in Canada have returned negative identity responses. They are still awaiting responses from countries such as New Zealand and Australia.

He could not say as yet how many countries have returned negative findings. However, he knows “for a fact” that “no one has said yes” with regard to the identity of the man.

Domestically, Det Garda Hanley said that a number of addresses in Ireland may or may not be linked with the man. Gardaí have also been in touch with the RSA, the Residential Tenancies Board, the ESB and the VHI. A team has been set up to carry out enquiries.

Inspector Pat Lyons applied for a further adjournment of the case as investigations are ongoing. Frank Buttimer, solicitor for the man, said that there will have to be a cut off date as to when a decision is made by the DPP in relation to the case.

Judge Olann Kelleher said that the DPP “can’t make a decision when they don’t know who they man is.”

Judge Kelleher remanded the man in custody until October 24th next when he will appear by video link from prison. The man, who has white hair and a beard, appeared by video link in court today.

Meanwhile, the man was arrested on September 15th at the passport office in South Mall in Cork. He was charged in the name of Philip Frank Morris of no fixed address, with a date of birth in the 1950’s.

He was charged with two offences relating to allegedly providing false or misleading information in order to obtain a passport

Det Garda Hanley last month told the court that the man allegedly used the name of a baby, Philip Frank Morris, who was born in December 1952 but subsequently died to apply for a passport in Cork.

Det Garda Hanley said that when questioned the man said he was residing in Ireland and needed a passport to leave the country. Dt Sgt Hanley said the man did not co-operate with officers in any way following his arrest.

He said the man held an Irish passport for three decades but only recently obtained a PPS number.

He told Judge Kelleher that they had spoken to the brother of the late Philip Morris who died at the age of four months in 1953.

Last Tuesday at Cork District Court the man was charged with an additional offence. Det Garda Hanley said that the man made no reply when he was charged with providing information or documents on September 11th last at the passport office in South Mall which were false or misleading.

The court heard that the man allegedly had a passport in the name of Geoffrey Warbrook. However, Det Garda Hanley said gardaí have spoken to relatives of Mr Warbrook who confirmed that he died as a young baby in the early 1950’s.

“Both of those two people (Philip Morris and Geoffrey Warbook) died. We have interviewed siblings of both of those people who died in 1952 and 1953. They died within months of their birth.

We are satisfied that he is not Philip Morris or Geoffrey Warbrook (the two names on passports allegedly seized from the man).

There are two passports, one of which has been renewed. Numerous international enquiries regarding fingerprints and photos have been made.

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