A British killer who allegedly stole the identity of a severely brain-damaged Hastings man had a false passport issued in the local man's name more than two years ago.

Documents released to Hawke's Bay Today under the Official Information Act (OIA) state the passport was issued in the name of Hastings man Robert Eric Jeffery but had the image of British-born man Simon Hennessey.

Hennessey was 14 years old in 1978 when he killed his 72-year-old aunt in a frenzied attack at her home in Plymouth.

Twenty years later, in 1998, he escaped from Gloucestershire Prison and made his way to New Zealand, where it is believed he had links to the Hastings area.


The documents show the false passport was issued by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) on November 29, 2010. Hennessey was arrested on the Sunshine Coast in Australia five months ago.

As well as requiring identity information, standard passport security checks include providing an identity referee who is over 16 years of age and has known the applicant personally for more than a year, but is not a relative or living with them.

The OIA response stated the DIA would await the outcome of a New Zealand Police investigation into the incident before making any response itself.

Police confirmed in July that they had seized electronic items from a Hastings house they said was linked to Hennessey but it was not known how often Hennessey had stayed in the Bay through the years.

Robert's father Don Jeffery previously told Hawke's Bay Today the alleged identity theft was "shocking when it happens to someone so close".

He said he did not recognise Hennessey's photo or his name and had "no idea" where he could have got Robert's details from.

"We don't know whether it was a chance encounter or whether he targeted Rob."

He said the family were also unsure how long Hennessey had been using Robert's identity but said they had not been put out by the ordeal.

"He seems to have been using Rob's identity to evade the law, not to rip Rob off.

"That was obviously our main concern, making sure Rob is protected."

Robert was thrown from the flat-bed truck he was driving during a head-on collision eight years ago.

Don said his son, now 44, struggled to retain information and did not know anything about the situation. "We're not sure if this guy got his details before the car accident or afterwards when they knew what had happened."

-Additional reporting APN