Stop that coffin! Detectives halt funeral of fugitive millionaire who evaded justice for 25 years so his body can be taken away and fingerprinted

Fled abroad in 1987 amid fraud probe but wanted to be buried in family village in Wales
Funeral attended by all of his six children and three wives as well as his long-term business partner
Detectives swoop on coffin to take fingerprints
‘An incredible end to a very dramatic life’ – funeral director

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 5:03 PM on 23rd November 2011
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2065209/Detectives-halt-funeral-millionaire-solicitor-evaded-justice-25-years-body-taken-away-fingerprinted.html

Fugitive: Businessman Andrew Paterson was on the run from British justice for 25 years before police caught up with him – after his death

A fugitive millionaire on the run from British justice for 25 years was finally caught – because his dying wish was to be buried back home.

Solicitor Andrew Paterson created an amazing double life which was only discovered when his body was flown back to a tiny village in Wales.

Paterson, 58, fled abroad after being accused of fraud in 1987 and became a wealthy property developer under the fake identity of Mark Attwood.

But his last request was to be buried under the green, green grass of home in the Welsh village where he grew up.

Police were tipped off at the last minute that the funeral was for their man. They allowed the service to go ahead but halted the burial so they could fingerprint the body.

Funeral director Stewart Treharne said: ‘I’ve never come across a situation like this. It was an incredible end to a very dramatic life.

‘Whatever his history, he was a man who was loved as a husband, father and respected colleague.’

Paterson was working as a solicitor in Guildford, Surrey, when he fled the country after police issued a warrant for his arrest on charges relating to a £17,200 imported car scam.

He adopted a new identity as Mark Attwood, 51, and travelled the world, setting up a series of successful luxury holiday resorts and marrying three times.

He died in the beach resort of Goa in India from a sudden heart attack.

His third wife carried out his last wish, that his body be laid to rest in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church in his childhood village of Begelly, Pembrokeshire, west Wales.

Family and colleagues had travelled from far and wide to pay their last respects when police were tipped off that the funeral was for their wanted man.

They allowed the service to go ahead – but stopped the actual burial so they could take the body away for fingerprinting and make sure the man in the coffin was Paterson.

After confirmation of their suspicions, the fugitive was finally interred in a grave marked ‘Andrew Paterson also known as Mark Attwood’.

‘This little village must have made quite an impression on him because after going all around the world he really wanted to come back here’

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

Funeral director Mr Treharne said: ‘I really feel for his family.

‘He had some wonderful tributes paid to him at the funeral, and was evidently held in high esteem with people travelling from all over the world to attend.

‘Because of the inquiries being made by police, it was not possible to bury his body immediately.

‘But we ensured his dignity has been respected by caring for him in our chapel of rest.

‘This little village must have made quite an impression on him because after going all around the world he really wanted to come back here.

‘Other members of his family were buried here and it clearly held a place in his heart. He must have wanted to get back to his roots, to the place were he grew up.’

One of businessman Andrew Paterson’s holiday developments. The company ran a collection of luxury villa resorts, located in Bali, Thailand, Indonesia and Greece

Paterson, as exile Attwood, co-founded the Karma Royal group, which expanded to become Asia-Pacific’s largest timeshare resort development. The company run a collection of luxury villa resorts in Bali, Thailand, Indonesia and Greece.

His personal life was dramatic as well – he married three different woman and fathered six children.

He eventually made a home in the beach paradise of Goa and was living with latest wife Chatchanok when he died suddenly from a heart attack.

His funeral was attended by all of his six children and three wives as well as his long-term business partner, Australian John Spence, who flew in to give a moving speech.

Investigators looking into Paterson’s past were unable to find any living relatives in Britain.

But as Mark Attwood he had hundreds of friends posting tributes on his Facebook painting a picture of a charismatic, dynamic individual.

And he was described as ‘an amazing character’, ‘a top man’ and ‘a warm and eternally optimistic chap’.

Karma Royal held a memorial service shortly after his death celebrating his ‘life and legend’ – but little did they know how incredible his story really was.

Dyfed-Powys Police yesterday confirmed that the criminal investigation had never found him – but his death ended a long inquiry.

A police spokesperson said: ‘Andrew Paterson failed to attend Guildford Crown Court on October 13 in 1987 to answer conspiracy to defraud charges and a warrant is still outstanding.’

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