Fisherman fakes death, writes obituary - and sees it published

A fisherman faked his death by writing his own obituary for Fishing News.

Derek Atkins, 55, pretended the obituary – in which he described himself as ‘a gentleman at sea with a great sense of humour who would always help anyone’– was written by his girlfriend.

Instead, Atkins wrote it himself, in an attempt to avoid prosecution and fines of up to £1m for flouting fishing regulations.

Atkins yesterday admitted charges – including falsifying catches, and perverting justice by pretending to be dead – at Portsmouth Crown Court. Sentencing was adjourned.

The obituary was published in Fishing News on 22 June, 2007.

Editor Tim Oliver told The Daily Telegraph: ‘We definitely got hoaxed.

‘We have to take certain things on trust. It is not as if we could have asked to see his body.”

And Atkins, even in his own obituary, couldn’t resist stepping on his soap box.

He claimed the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Government wanted ‘to stop the British fisherman earning an honest living”, and said he ‘had little time for officials, MPs, or political parties”.

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