Drifter murders millionaire, steals his identity and then goes on
EXCLUSIVE by ANDY GARDNER Crime Correspondent
AN evil drifter murdered a man and then stole his identity in an elaborate plot which mirrors Hollywood blockbuster The Talented Mr Ripley.
Brazilian Fabio Pereira killed and disposed of the body of John Goodman then moved into his pounds 1million home.
He then embarked on a four-month spending spree with his victim’s credit cards, show’ering his teenage girlfriend with expensive gifts.
The illegal immigrant racked up thousands of pounds of debt and even redecorated the 18-room West London property which his 51-year- old victim – who still worked as a driver – had inherited. He even posed as Mr Goodman to buy dozens of lap dances at a London nightclub and pounds 78 bottles of Moet champagne.
But he was caught out when his fraud sparked a murder inquiry and Pereira bragged about the killing to his 15-year-old girlfriend and one of her friends.
Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Alistair Tully, in charge of the investigation, said: “We uncovered an elaborate story of deceit.”
Detectives believe that Pereira got the idea to kill his victim and steal his identity from the movie starring Matt Damon, based on Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novels. In reality, Pereira came to Britain in 1999. He lived rough or in squats around Ealing where he may have met Mr Goodman.
Police believe Mr Goodman was murdered between 5.24pm and 7.05pm on April 8, 2003. Pereira first used his five credit cards hours after the killing. The next night he ordered pounds 12-a-time lap dances at LA Confidential in Ealing. He also forked out pounds 90 to join an escort agency.
A neighbour said: “He told me he had moved in and was doing up some of the house and that John had gone abroad.”
Pereira even drew up a sales contract showing he had paid pounds 75,000 for the home’s basement.
The murderer bought himself a new wardrobe after burning Mr Goodman’s clothes and lavished gifts on his girlfriend and her family. Pereira withdrew up to pounds 500 daily to pay for booze at his local pub until, after months of excess, he exhausted the credit.
He was finally arrested in August 2003 after a neighbour tipped off police. A fraud probe led to murder squad detectives being called in. Pereira was convicted of murder last week at Kingston Crown Court. He will be sentenced next month.
Police recovered a body from Mr Goodman’s house on Friday but it has not yet been identified.
MATT Damon plays a psychopath sent to Europe to retrieve a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy (Jude Law).
When the errand fails he becomes obsessed with assuming his identity, kills him and gets rid of the body before adopting his lavish lifestyle.
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