Woman admits using dead Sea World pilot’s identity

Stephanie Louise Bennett pleaded guilty to using dead pilot Ash Jenkinson's identity.

Stephanie Louise Bennett pleaded guilty to using dead pilot Ash Jenkinson's identity. Photo: AAP

The woman who used the identity of a pilot killed in the Sea World helicopter tragedy to dodge a traffic ticket has been heckled outside court.

Stephanie Louise Bennett, 33, pleaded guilty to using dead pilot Ash Jenkinson’s identity after she was caught using her mobile phone behind the wheel on December 15.

Bennett was trying to avoid the mandatory $1078 fine and when she went online to claim she was not at fault.

Instead, Bennett used information from the death notice of Sea World pilot Ash Jenkinson, who died on January 2 in a helicopter collision, to claim he committed the offence.

Bennett earlier told the court that she was going through “personal matters” and “financial troubles” at the time, and had attempted to undo the alleged fraudulent nomination the next day.

“The following day I remembered what I did and tried to undo it by attempting to nominate myself but the website didn’t accept it,” she told the court earlier this month.

Bennett pleaded guilty in Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Wednesday to fraud by dishonestly inducing a person to act and one count of obtaining or dealing with another’s identity for the purpose of committing an indictable offence.

Magistrate Terry Duroux rejected an immediate move to a sentence, adjourning the case to May 19.

“The court does not operate in a vacuum. I’m well aware of why we are here. I am putting you on notice – I believe there are authorities that I should be referred to.”

Mr Duroux said he did not believe the 15 minutes allotted for a plea hearing on Wednesday was adequate.

“In my view, this is a lengthy plea and not appropriate for this court. There are two fraud-type charges before the court and the maximum penalty I believe is around five years.”

Bennett disguised her identity with a scarf but was still taunted as she left the courthouse.

“You’re disgusting, show your face. Why didn’t you just take the fine? You should be ashamed,” bystanders yelled.

The matter is expected to be finalised next month.


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