After almost 20 years on the run from the UK and committing many crimes in various countries including Portugal, the serial fraudster Kenner Elias Jones, also known as ‘Conman Ken’ and ‘The Charming Predator’, has been tracked down living in a comfortable care home in Munich, Germany.
There are two particularly shocking things about this sociopath. Firstly, his crimes have been so numerous and incredibly audacious. Secondly – and in complete contrast – police forces and judicial authorities in the UK and Europe have been unwilling or unable to arrest him since he jumped bail from Lewes Crown Court, East Sussex, and absconded in 2003. A warrant was issued for his arrest, so far to no effect.
The name ‘The Charming Predator’ is the title of a biography by his first wife, a Canadian artist and former journalist, Lee Mackenzie. Like many others, she is awaiting the outcome of Jones’ discovery in Munich, hoping that this time the police and judicial authorities will act decisively.
Kenner Elias Jones is believed to be occupying a room in the German care home under a false name which has been reported to Mackenzie as ‘Dr. Adam Palfrey’. He is also alleged to be in poor health. Jones has often done the combination of name change and purported medical conditions before elsewhere.
A recent visitor to his bedside said he indicated he was unable to speak or to communicate by typing on his laptop even though it was open right in front of him. The same visitor said staff at the care centre reported hearing him speaking at times before they entered the room. Details of Lee Mackenzie’s book have been left for him to read.
A highly intelligent, friendly and likeable man originally from north Wales, Kenner Elias Jones is a compulsive liar who has variously posed successfully as a medical doctor, an Anglican priest and a refugee.
He had already committed scores of crimes and served sentences in prison many times in the UK before seizing his chance to go on the run. Since then, he has been deported and permanently barred from Canada and the United States. He was sentenced to a federal prison in the US for crimes of fraud. A senior immigration officer in the US described him as “the best conman I have ever encountered in my entire career”.
A warrant for his arrest was issued in Kenya, but it was too late. He had fled owing an estimated $100,000 on behalf of a charity he had set up in which he personally treated all ages and both genders of children despite having no medical qualifications.
Portugal was his next stop. BBC Wales, the first to call him ‘Conman Ken’, interviewed a travel agent in Palmela near Lisbon who said Jones had tricked her into issuing tickets for his third wife and her children to fly to Portugal from Kenya. The promised later payment was never made.
A Portuguese estate agent said Jones had persuaded him to lend hundreds of euros for medicines and other supposedly urgent needs while expressing interest in buying a property in the €400,000-€500,000 price range. The investigative Polícia Judiciária were informed, but that’s as far as it got. No arrest but plenty more victims still to come.
Next stop was south-western Spain. After a full meal one day, Jones went to the toilet and collapsed with a suspected heart attack. An ambulance took him to a district hospital where tests during a six-week stay could find nothing wrong with him. He chalked up a bill of €26,000 on the understanding he was awaiting health insurance money. He vanished when pressure on him to pay increased. It’s understood the bill was never settled. He then had another unpaid stay, this time in a Spanish seaside resort, which also didn’t seem to greatly interest the Spanish police.
Jones was next spotted in Sweden where he claimed to be a refugee who had fled from likely assassination in Africa for exposing corruption. The British police were again told of his exact location as they had been when he was in Spain. Swedish police knew about a warrant for his arrest in the UK, but the UK police had not issued a European Arrest Warrant, thus Kenner Elias Jones was free to pursue his wicked ways even though his British passport had expired by then.
Jones’ exact whereabouts in Germany is now well know, but it remains to be seen if the UK and German police and judicial authorities are willing to cooperate and finally put this man behind bars and give him mental health treatment. It is well past time to keep him away from innocent victims on whom he practises his financial and emotional damage.
By LEN PORT
Len Port is a journalist and author based in the Algarve. Follow Len’s reflections on current affairs in Portugal on his blog: algarvenewswatch.blogspot.pt