Local News

Gillards Beach hoaxer who tried to fake his own death still on the run

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Police are now searching for a 42 year old Victorian man who it's believed tried to fake his own death, causing an extensive sea, land and air search on the Far South Coast last week. Image courtesy South Coast Police FB. 

After sending rescuers out into the dangerous waters of the Far South Coast last week, the 42-year-old Victorian man, who it's understood tried to fake his own death and assume the identity of a fictional twin brother, is now really missing. 

As of last night police had not found the man they wanted in relation to the hoax that began on Wednesday afternoon, when he told police his twin brother had gone for a run and swim at Gillards Beach, north of Tathra, and had not returned. With the supposed missing man's clothing remaining, seemingly ominously, on the beach.

Theories of course turned to shark attack, but as the days continued on with the land, air and sea search and no trace of the man was found, locals began to scratch their heads. There was also lack of information about the man's family and well something just didn't seem right. 

Yesterday morning (Saturday) police confirmed the ordeal for rescuers, all the emergency services from the NSW Police Marine Command unit and PolAir, to the local SES, Marine Rescue, Surf Life Saving volunteers and more, was over and they were told not to resume the search. By mid-morning the news was getting through to the media that the community and authorities had been the subject of an expensive - at least $1 million dollars - and dangerous hoax. 

Far South Coast Surf Life Saving spokesperson Cheryl McCarthy, from Bermagui, told East Coast Radio of how dangerous the waters had been on Wednesday night, and Thursday, for rescuers in their inflatable crafts and vessels. 

Why would someone go to such desperate lengths? Police have told local media the hoaxer wanted to fake his own death to avoid fraud charges in Victoria and assumed the identity of a fictional twin brother. 'Not very well thought through' have been some of the comments from a disbelieving public, but thought through enough to cause great inconvenience to all the searchers who put their lives on hold and their lives at risk to search. 

Hopefully police will release a description of the man today and he'll be in custody soon.