Tuesday, June 8, 1999 Published at 19:45 GMT 20:45 UK
'Reggie Perrin' father escapes punishment
Mr Cardwell vanished from Immingham Port in September
Police say they do not plan to take any action against a father of three who has been found safe and well after staging his own disappearance eight months ago.
Graham Cardwell, a 46-year-old assistant dockmaster at Immingham, north Lincolnshire, had been missing presumed drowned since last September.
Search teams believed he had been accidentally swept out to sea while carrying out routine checks.
His wife Jane, their two schoolboy sons aged 14 and 17 and a university student daughter, 20, had given him up for dead.
But, like Reggie Perrin, the 1970s sitcom character played by actor Leonard Rossiter, Mr Cardwell had begun a new life in another part of the country.
'Walked for a month'
At the weekend, police acting on a tip-off found him alive and well at a secret address in the West Midlands, 200 miles away.
Mr Cardwell told officers he had been suffering from depression and a fear that he was dying from cancer, but had divulged neither condition to his family.
He said he spent a month walking to the West Midlands where he changed his name, got a job and found himself a flat.
A Humberside police spokesman said Mr Cardwell regretted the disappearance and its consequences as soon as he did it.
He said police had decided not to prosecute the former Grimsby Conservative councillor in relation to his disappearance.
"He said he believed he had cancer and didn't want to put his family through the anguish of that."
He added: "Although he gave medical reasons for his disappearance we are not aware that he has been receiving treatment.
"Nor did he take any steps to prevent people from assuming that he was dead."
'No family reunion'
Police said they would not make public Mr Cardwell's address for fear of jeopardising the anonymity of the person who tipped them off. However, the spokesman said: "A family reunion is not expected for the foreseeable future.
"We have told them he is safe and well and to be honest they are trying to get their heads around the news.
"They had been mourning for eight months and his reappearance has left them understandably shocked."
Mrs Cardwell said the family were "distraught".
She said: "For eight months we have lived with the thought that Graham was dead.
"To suddenly be told he is alive and living a life somewhere else is difficult to come to terms with."
She added: "We have been under a great deal of pressure since Graham disappeared and we need time together to work out how we are going to cope with this."