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24 September 2014
Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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   Inside Out - South: Monday October 23, 2006

Con man

Guiy Leaver de-Montfort
Guiy Leaver de-Montfort - notorious con man

Inside Out challenges one of Britain's most notorious con men over his latest, multi-million pound project in which he poses as a United Nations veteran.

Graham Leaver was born in Dartford, Kent on 12 June 1942.

He was jailed in 1987 for cheque fraud, and later deported from the USA after he escaped from prison.

He also left a trail of wealthy women claiming he had stolen money from them.

The Ministry of Defence has no record of Mr Leaver ever having served in the armed forces, but Inside Out discovered that he is currently posing as 'Major Brigadier G. G. Leaver de-Montfort', claiming unspecified UN service in Asia & Africa.

Shown a picture of himself in Knokke, Belgium by Inside Out, in UN beret, Mr Leaver declined to defend himself or to explain why his new, Brugges based company, Merlin's Eye, has a trail of unpaid debts.

The real thing?

Nancy van Braam, the former marketing manager of Merlin's Eye, tells Inside Out she quit the company when she found out who Mr Leaver really was, but not before the married conman had proposed marriage to her.

Guiy Leaver de-Montfort
Guiy Leaver de-Montfort - door stepped by Inside Out

Nancy tells Inside Out that she accompanied Mr Leaver on a visit to Dubai.

She witnessed him using his UN persona to try and persuade international businessmen to invest in his latest project - a £600 million equestrian centre in the United Arab Emirates.

Vincent Hillsdon, the Australian CEO of Transcom Software Inc, tells the programme how he also met Mr Leaver wearing the UN beret in Dubai:

"He seemed the real thing. I thought he was Guiy Leaver de-Montfort working for the United Nations."

Mr Leaver tried to persuade him to invest £200,000 in Merlin's Eye, but Mr Hillsdon discovered the truth about his background and decided not to invest.

Guiy Leaver de-Montfort in beret
Guiy Leaver de-Montfort - wearing the beret

Senior UN official in Brussels, Jan Fischer, confirms to Inside Out that Mr Leaver has no right to wear the uniform, and that impersonating a UN officer is a serious offence.

Inside Out first exposed Mr Leaver as a conman in 2003, when the programme revealed that his 'Fly the Stars' project, which claimed to raise funds for victims of 9/11, never produced any money for the victims.

Inside Out also established that 'Fly the Stars' was not supported by Mr Leaver's 'sponsors' which he falsely claimed included Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher & the Pope.

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Southampton Cemetery
Southampton Cemetery - rich in history

Inside Out goes back in time to look at Victorian cemeteries and attitudes to death during the 19th Century.

"If a man married a second wife, while still mourning his first," museum Curator Rachel Wragg tells Chris Packham, "the second wife would have to go into mourning, too."

Along with black horses with nodding plumes, yards of black crepe, year-long mourning - these are just some of the things associated with the Victorian way of death which Chris Packham investigates.

He starts off at Southampton's Victorian cemetery - one of the many built in the middle of the 19th Century to take over from churchyards - which could not cope with the appalling death-rate in our cities.

Chris learns to decode the symbols on Victorian graves - and discovers that 19th Century mourning customs gave rise to ready-to-wear.

"If you want history, nature and beauty all combined, visit your local Victorian cemetery, " says Chris.

"What's amazing is that something so morbid could give us something so beautiful."

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Homeless people
Down and out but not without a helping hand

Inside Out looks at homelessness on the streets of Weymouth.

On the surface it seems like an idyllic holiday town and a great place to be.

But what if you haven’t got a roof over your head?

What if you had it all, then lost it and you find yourself on the streets?

Angie's story

We follow the story of Angie Barnes, a former homeless woman, who tells her tale of life sleeping rough.

Now living in a flat in the town, she’s made it her life’s work to help the homeless and the rough sleepers she met on the way:

"I had everything - a home, a business – and I lost it all. I was made homeless, made to feel worthless, useless, an embarrassment to society... and it’s a hard struggle.

"It was the worst time of my life, but it was also the best. Living with no home, I became part of a group of people I used to just walk past.

"But I grew to understand , love and desperately want to help them."

Food for the soul

Angie Barnes
Angie Barnes - now helping other homeless people

Soul Food is one of the places Angie used to come - they'd give her a meal, cut her hair and give her a sense of community.

Now she helps out other homeless people there.

Inside Out meets some of the homeless that she has befriended, and tells their stories.

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