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Last Updated: Monday, 13 June 2005, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
France holds 'Chameleon' impostor
Frederic Bourdin, 11 Jun 05
Frederic Bourdin has used a variety of aliases
A 31-year-old serial impostor who passed himself off for a whole month as a schoolboy - aged 15 - is being questioned by police in France.

Frederic Bourdin, nicknamed "the Chameleon", attended the Jean Monnet school in Pau posing as "Francisco Hernandez-Fernandez", a Spanish orphan.

A teacher unmasked him last week after having watched a television programme about his exploits.

Bourdin was jailed in the US in 1997 for posing as a couple's long-lost son.

The Texas couple's 14-year-old blue-eyed son had disappeared three years earlier and they travelled to the US embassy in Spain to meet "Nicholas Barclay".

Bourdin convinced them that he was their son, despite his brown eyes and strong French accent.

He lived with them for three months before his deception was exposed by a journalist and confirmed by a DNA test. He was jailed for six years.


Commenting on his latest exploit, Bourdin said that in Pau he got what he wanted.

"I loved the kids and the people looking after them, they treated me as one of them," he said.

Quoted by the French news agency AFP, he said he sought "love and affection" by assuming false identities.

The school head was quoted as saying Bourdin "appeared a bit older than his pals - two or three years at most".

France's Le Figaro newspaper reports that Bourdin is an excellent actor who dresses as a teenager, uses depilatory face creams and adopts a convincing youthful walk.

He is said to have assumed numerous other identities.

He will appear in court in Pau in September.

As a youth he was placed in a children's home after being raised by his grandparents in a Paris suburb, Le Figaro reports.


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