You’ve got a lot of nerve

Let me introduce you to Steven Houston, or Steve as he likes to be called. Steve is the sort of guy you really don’t want to meet and certainly not trust with your money or possessions. He is a conman.
Six years ago a dear friend of mine was duped by him for over £1,200 plus personal items including a Laptop, half a freezer of her home produced lamb and two expensive sheep skins.
What follows is a piece I wrote for my newspaper in December 2008, but was never allowed to publish. I was told by an inexperienced boss that the story was ‘unsafe’.
That didn’t stop either the Scottish national The Sunday Mail or the Macclesfield Express from publishing it the following week. So this reload has been a long time coming!

A TOP brass RAF officer who stood side by side with veterans at a Remembrance Day service in Wrexham last month is an imposter with a long string of similar deceptions.
Self-proclaimed Air Commodore Steven Houston, 49, donned a UN blue beret, and badges which suggested he served in Afghanistan, and read the service and took the salute at the Remembrance Service in Coedpoeth on Sunday 10 November.
He also lay a poppy wreath with a UN logo at the village’s war memorial.
But, Houston is a confidence trickster who has been sacked from a number of positions in the catering industry and quit a similar job at Chester Zoo just prior to the service.
Houston, who has a home address in West Yorkshire, had been staying in lodgings in Coedpoeth during October and November, where he conned his landlady out of more than £1,200.
A year ago he was sacked as general manager of the Moorpark House Hotel in Kilbirnie, Ayshire in Scotland.
Scottish veterans were suspicious when he turned up to take the salute at the war memorial in Stevenston on Sunday 11 November, 2007. A year earlier he had pulled the same trick at his home village of South Kirkby.
Houston’s phoney medals at Stevenston, South Kirkby and Coedpoeth included the V-shaped Legion badge commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.
He also sported a little enamel wing on his jacket, but the proper RAF emblem is an eagle with a crown.
Houston wore a UN beret with a cloth badge worn by officers. He also sported an ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) badge suggesting he had served with NATO in Afghanistan.
Houston bragged openly that he had served in the Falklands, both Gulf Wars, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and Bosnia and claimed he was also part of an elite group who accompanied Princess Diana’s body back from Paris in 1997.
He even handed out bogus business cards with a UN logo and his fake rank of Air Commodore upon them.
But Houston only served a short stint in the RAF in the 1980s and never progressed beyond the ordinary ranks in the catering corps.
Ian Evans, landlord of the Golden Lion in Coedpoeth and a former soldier with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, said a dozen ex-servicemen accompanied Houston back to his pub for “a few drinks” following this year’s service.
“He wasted no time in boasting about who he was, what he’d done and where he’d been, even before we had our first drink,” said Ian.
“But we immediately became suspicious and started asking him questions he could not answer and then we realised he was an imposter.
“It is an absolute disgrace that someone like him can impersonate a senior officer when we are remembering so many genuine servicemen who lost their lives.”
Sean Griffiths, a former Regimental Sergeant Major with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers was also at the Remembrance Service.
“I didn’t speak with him, but knew he wasn’t ex RAF immediately when I saw the condition of his shoes,” he said.
“The RAF are notoriously well groomed and this guy wasn’t, he was like a tramp.
“I am disgusted he conned the British Legion in this way.”
Mark Edmonds, landlord of the New Inn in Coedpoeth, said Houston befriended him and his regulars for the six weeks he lived near the village.
“On the surface he was a nice chap, but we soon saw through him and underneath he was a deceitful, conniving and scheming man. He even started paying his tab with meat and sheep skins he had stolen from his landlady,” he said. “He needs sorting out and stopping.”
Back in his home village Eddie Robinson, president of the South Kirkby British Legion, said: “I didn’t know he was an imposter until last week. It was quite a shock because he seemed very genuine. He has been into the club since playing pool. He said he had been away on UN business.”
The RAF confirmed that following an investigation, no-one by the name of Steven Houston had ever reached Air Commodore or any similar rank.
A spokeswoman for the UN also confirmed that Houston has no right to wear the uniform or a blue officer’s beret, and that impersonating a UN officer is a serious criminal offence.
A spokesman for the British Legion said: “He is an imposter and his sheer presence at Remembrance services throughout the UK is an insult to all those who gave their lives for us and who we remember.”
When door-stepped at his home by a reporter, a man in dressing gown answered, looked away and said: “Mr Houston doesn’t live here,” before slamming the door closed.

Author: seagullnic

Writer, editor, lecturer and part-time musician. Passions in life: my family, Bob Dylan, music of many genres, Brighton and Hove Albion FC, cooking plus good food and wine.

9 thoughts on “You’ve got a lot of nerve”

  1. Thank you thank you….you have no idea. Back in 2004 he was a father of two sons that live in the South of England. However he lived in Leeds. His sister died in his arms in Scotland. And to top it all he had cancer with not long to live. A drunk driving around in a red sports car. Liked the high life in London. He asked me to marry him, of course a ring was a waste of money. He would rather invite some of my friends to stay in his apartment around the corner from the UN in New York and have a lavish party. The list goes on and on. Put this con man in jail.

    1. Thank you.
      He also went under the pseudonym of Stuart or Stewart Hartnell.
      His parting shot with my friend was to get her to fill up his Saab with petrol, so he could drive to Manchester Airport to fly to the Isle of Man and withdraw several thousand pounds to repay her. Of course she never saw him again. He drove straight back to Pontefract to his wife/partner!

  2. Another lady posted this about Mr Houston:
    I met this guy on AFF (Adult Friend Finder). His picture looked genuine, so we spoke and met up quite quickly.
    He said he was a member of the United Nations. He had all the clothing/uniform etc and also claimed to have been in the RAF.
    He will tell you the sob story of his lesbian sister who died. He drives a red Saab Aero convertible but tells you it’s not in his name for security reasons.
    He will only ever meet at hotel or bar or at your house.
    I discovered where he lived and just turned up. He freaked big style as the wife he claims not to have had was sat in the living room!
    He borrowed money from me and gave me a cheque attached to a credit card which is in the hands of the receivers.
    He was big into the swinging scene. If ever unobtainable would use the excuse of in heavy overnight UN meetings.
    I read his emails and in the week prior to reading them he had met up with four other women, all commenting on how easy he was to talk to and beautiful brown eyes!! Take a look into the eyes of a serial liar and adulterer.

    1. Thankfully London maybe big but its not an easy place – I spotted cracks in his tall tales like having two names one being Steven Harrington who had cancer and was told he only had months to live ! Seems I was lucky I had eagle eyed friends.

      Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

  3. I met him on a plane from Australia to UK
    He came to Australia and i p aid for his flight and hotel to NZ from OZ – and his jump from the sky tower shame the wire didnt snap of course he was going to pay with his credit card which didn’t seem to work here…… he attended my sons graduation from Auckland all same the tales dead sister 2 sons lots of “war” photos grainy of course and desert shots and bullet wounds……… air commodore Con man My son was afraid to tell me he had seen this posting Well done Nic. I reported it to the police in Sydney All the emails sent He had two passports of course for his secret work in the UN neither of which was Kosher i had the numbers to book the flight to NZ I gave them to the police too I would dearly love to see him pay the price forget about getting money back thousands and thousands but would like to see him jailed or significant community service perhaps for what he has done I am fortunate I can work and replace what he conned/stole from me but he needs to be stopped this aged successful lothario degading the memory of real heroes

  4. What year was that Vicki? Would be interesting to know if he still active. I know he also had a big drink problem and was allegedly into the swinging scene. Various posts about him on Adult Friend Finder (AFF)

  5. 2006 was the year the year of my sons admission to the Bar not graduation as i put in the other post As i said i met him on a plane and corresponded with him and yes when he cam back he certainly had a serious drink problem and yes he is a thief as well as a con man I will look on adult friend finder its not a site i am familiar with but if you need more ammunition or people to testify i certainly would Thank you for responding

  6. Nor mine Vicki!
    This is now interesting as we can trace his movements for a number of years. He targeted Wendie in 2004 in Leeds and London. A number of other women (re AFF) between 2005-06. Met you in 2006. Took the Remembrance salute at South Kirkby in Nov 2006, lived and worked (and took the salute again) at Stevenston (Ayrshire in 2007). Then met and robbed my friend near Wrexham (of almost £2,000) in 2008 (and took the salute again at Coedpoeth). Then we were on to him! A reporter from the Wakefield Express door-stepped him at his home (which he shares with another woman we take to be his wife) in South Kirkby (near Doncaster) in December 2007. He made a number of drunken threatening phone calls to me in January 2008 (all reported to the police). But since his photo and details were circulated on the internet in the summer of 2008, he has been very quiet. Maybe he has grown a beard!

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