A bogus aristocrat who posed as an earl for 23 years before being exposed as an American who dreamed of being royalty is to be deported from the UK, it was reported yesterday.
Charles Albert Stopford III, who styled himself "Lord Buckingham", will be escorted by immigration officials on to a Florida-bound plane this week and banned from returning to the UK for at least five years, it is claimed.
Stopford (44) stole the identity of Christopher Edward Buckingham, an eight-month-old baby who died in a road accident in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, in 1963.
Stopford's family had last seen him in April 1983 when he was 21 and living with his grandmother in Orlando.
The following year, as "Chris Buckingham", he met his wife-to-be in Germany and the pair later moved to England, before divorcing in 1997.
He used the dead child's identity to obtain a British passport and national insurance number.
To back up his claim of being an earl, Stopford, from Clearwater, Florida, even used notepaper headed with a coat of arms not used since the eighteenth century.
Stopford continued to use the Buckingham title until he was stopped by immigration officials in Dover.
It was then discovered that his passport matched the death certificate of the real Christopher Buckingham and it was revoked.
Last November he was jailed after pleading guilty to making an untrue statement for the purposes of obtaining a passport, although his sentence was later reduced.
Still he continued to hide his true identity, even from his ex-wife and two children and detectives suggested he may have been hiding a "dark secret".
But his family in the United States, alerted by a mystery phone call, looked up the name "Christopher Buckingham" on the internet and recognised him.
A Home Office spokes-woman said: "We don't comment on individual cases."