‘Mystery man’ accused of using passports of dead Irish babies is on file with FBI, court told

Gardaí have been working for over a month to confirm the identity of the person arrested at the Cork Passport Office in September

Gardaí have been working for over a month to confirm the identity of the person arrested at the Cork Passport Office in September.

Detectives worked with Interpol and investigations were launched in 195 countries, including the United States.

The pensioner, who had previously identified himself as Philip Frank Morris, was accused of having passports in the name of two Irish citizens who died as infants more than 70 years ago.

Cork District Court has now been told that contact has been received from US authorities who believe the man has an FBI file dating back to the early 1970s.

Det Garda Padraig Hanley, from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, said intensive investigations had been carried out over the past month.

He told the court that after “extensive investigations” the man had now been identified.

He also has an FBI file from 1970.

No information was provided about the FBI details or the defendant’s name.

Det Garda Hanley requested that the man be remanded in custody for a further week to allow Gardai to continue their investigation.

Judge Joanne Carroll asked about the level of cooperation shown by the detained man.

Det Garda Hanley said cooperation was not an issue in this case.

“There is no problem with the level of cooperation. He (the defendant) adopted a certain attitude.”

Det Garda Hanley previously said that when questioned the man said he lived in Ireland and needed a passport to leave the country.

However, he refused to help the officers in any way.

Defense lawyer Frank Buttimer said his client had been informed of developments in the case.

He requested that his client be remanded in custody for two weeks instead of one week to allow for further investigations and DPP directions in the case.

Judge Carroll remanded the man in custody to appear in court next November 7th.

The man is due to be interviewed in prison by Det Garda Hanley before that date.

The pensioner speaks with a hint of an American accent – and gardaí had hoped information could be obtained from US authorities.

Det Garda Hanley said the process had proven complex.

Gardaí had previously said the man had not assisted them in their inquiries into his identity.

The man’s fingerprints and photo were distributed by Interpol.

Negative responses were received from the National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom and from Canadian authorities.

Det Garda Hanley said gardaí were checking a number of addresses in Ireland that may be linked to the man in the hope that neighbors might be able to shed further light on the matter.

Gardaí are also making inquiries with various Irish energy suppliers and other state authorities.

Inspector Pat Lyons requested a further adjournment as the investigation is ongoing.

Defense lawyer Frank Buttimer told the court that given his client’s age and the fact that he is in custody, a timeframe for a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the matter needed to be clarified.

The man was arrested at the Passport Office on South Mall in Cork on September 14 last year and has been in custody since then.

The defendant was charged under the name Philip Frank Morris, with no fixed address and a birth date of December 1952.

He was charged with two offenses relating to allegedly providing false or misleading information to obtain a passport.

Gardaí subsequently located and contacted the brother of the deceased Philip Morris.

He told gardaí that his brother Philip Frank Morris died after an illness in 1953, aged four months.

The man held an Irish passport for three decades but only recently received a Personal Public Service (PPS) number.

The defendant was subsequently charged with a second offense.

He was accused of providing information and/or documents that were false or misleading at the Passport Office in Cork on September 11 last year.

Det Garda Hanley said the man made no response when he was formally charged with the new count.

The man also reportedly had an Irish passport in the name Geoffrey Warbrook.

However, Det Garda Hanley said gardaí had spoken to relatives of Mr Warbrook who confirmed he also died as a young baby in the early 1950s.

“These two people (Philip Morris and Geoffrey Warbook) died. “We interviewed siblings of these two people who died in 1952 and 1953. They died within months of being born,” he said.

“We are convinced that this is not Philip Morris or Geoffrey Warbrook. There are two passports, one of which has been renewed. Numerous international requests for fingerprints and photographs have been made. I took advantage of every possible opportunity.”

Gardaí said the investigation in the US took time due to the different police forces involved in the state.

“They (Interpol) have received some answers. It’s not conclusive at the moment. The problem with the United States is that some states do not have the latest fingerprints in the system. Some have a manual system.

“Interpol has responded to us and the investigation is ongoing. Based on his accent, we assume he could be from the USA.”

Det Garda Hanley said they were working with the US State Department because it appeared the man may be American.

The man was remanded in custody to appear again at Cork District Court on November 7.

The older man had previously been accused of two similar crimes.

One relates to an unknown date between September 12 and 25, 2012 at the passport office in South Mall, Cork, and to the application for a passport.

The details of the indictment allege that, for the purpose of obtaining a passport, the man provided information which was materially false or misleading and which he knew or believed to be false or misleading, or was careless about it, whether they were false or misleading.

The second indictment is similar but relates to the date June 7, 2022.

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