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An American passport fraudster in Ireland: The mysterious life of Randolph Kirk Parker

Parker (72) was jailed for 3½ years for applying for passports in the names of two dead babies, but never offered any hint of why he was using fake identities

Randolph Parker might have been surprised when two detectives greeted him as he collected a fake passport in Cork last year, but it didn’t take him long to compose himself.

The encounter between the 72-year-old American and detective gardaí Pádraig Hanly and Joanne O’Sullivan was the opening in a strange tale that continues to puzzle many still trying to fill in gaps.

“He definitely was surprised – he certainly wasn’t expecting to meet two gardaí when he went to collect his passport,” said someone who witnessed the moment.

“But he remained calm and collected – he didn’t get agitated or upset – it looked like he was a guy who was used to stressful situations.”


Last month, Parker, whose case has shown him to be something of an international man of mystery, was jailed for 3½ years with 15 months suspended for applying for passports in the names of two dead babies.

He pleaded guilty to four counts of providing false information to obtain an Irish passport and a fifth charge of possessing a driving licence which he knew to be false.

Beyond his pleas, there was little the American was willing to say. He remained silent throughout his interactions with the Garda and the criminal proceedings against him about who he is and why he obtained passports in the names of two dead Irish children.

His silence only added to the intrigue around who Randolph Kirk Parker is.

Little is known about Parker’s life in the US before his arrival in Ireland. The US embassy told gardaí that he landed at Shannon Airport in 1988 using his legitimate US passport in the name of Randolph Kirk Parker before promptly disappearing.

As for his time in the US, gardaí established that he lived at one point in Jackson, Michigan, and was arrested for possesssion of drugs by police in 1970 in Lapeer County, an area north of Detroit, but the case never went to trial after prosecutors didn’t proceed with it.

Parker’s reading material in court added to the intrigue around him; he read a novel by the author of The Godfather, Mario Puzo, and another by thriller writer Lee Child, whose hero Jack Reacher travels light and, like Parker, stays off the grid

After that, there is nothing known about the man’s life in the US.

Fast forward to his offences in Ireland and his arrest in 2023. He applied for an Irish passport in the name of deceased infant Phillip Francis Morris, the seventh time he applied for a passport in the name of an infant who had died in the 1950s.

The practice of obtaining passports by using birth certs of dead babies is not new. Novelist Frederick Forsyth famously used it in his 1971 thriller, The Day of the Jackal, in which his assassin scours churchyards for the grave of a boy of the same age as the assassin had he not died. The hitman then uses the name to create a false identity.

Parker was rumbled in 2017 after the Passport Services Integrity Section using facial recognition technology found a match between a Geoffrey Warbrook issued with a renewal passport in 2012 to an address in Dublin, and a number of passports issued since 1998 to a Phillip Morris in west Cork.

The Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation was alerted but could find no trace of a Geoffrey Warbrook or a Phillip Morris in the State.

Then in 2023, a breakthrough – they were alerted to a passport renewal application from a Phillip Morris which he was advised he could collect at the Passport office in Cork.

When Parker turned up at the passport office in the South Mall on September 14th, 2023, the two detective gardaí were waiting or him.

Upon being told he was Phillip Morris, they arrested him on suspicion of using false documents to apply for a passport in the name of Geoffrey Warbrook.

Gardaí already had taken a statement from Geoffrey Warbrook’s sister Gillian Shiels confirming her brother had died at just 11 days of age on April 8th 1952, so they believed the man in front of them was Phillip Morris and that he had applied for false passports in the name of Geoffrey Warbrook, whose grave is in Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold’s Cross, Dublin.

After his arrest, he was polite during his interview, but refused to answer any questions about why he had applied for a false passport or to assist gardaí in any way.

He was charged with two offences relating to providing false information for the Warbrook passport. He made the first of eleven appearances at Cork District Court the next day. He was denied bail after gardaí objected because they did not know who he was.

By the time he made it to Cork Circuit Criminal Court, gardaí established that he was not Phillip Morris after they took a statement from David Morris, confirming that he had a brother, Phillip who was born on New Year’s Eve 1952 but died just over three months later on April 2nd, 1953.

Det Garda Hanly told Parker’s sentencing hearing last month: “We had two identities and four false Irish passports – two in the name of Geoffrey Warbrook and two in the name of Phillip Morris – we were then in the situation where we had no idea who this person was.”

Inquiries were made through Interpol, the US authorities and other state agencies. Fingerprints went to foreign law enforcement. The FBI later confirmed that he was Randolph Kirk Parker, born on July 3rd, 1951, with the 1970 Michigan arrest showing up on his record.

Gardaí contacted some of his friends in Ireland, including a woman in west Cork whose address he was using as a postal address. They all revealed they knew him as an American, Ray F, and never knew him as Randolph Parker.

“He used to stay with people all over the country, people he befriended but they all knew him as Ray Travis even though he never had any official documents here as Ray Travis – they all knew him as this American guy who was into writing and music and film production and that was it,” said one Garda source.

It appears that some of those in Ireland who knew him became acquainted with him while he was living on and off for about 20 years on a houseboat in Amsterdam where he used to frequent Irish bars where he enjoyed traditional Irish music sessions.

Curiously, Parker never flew from Ireland to Amsterdam; he always travelled by ferry as a walk-on passenger and then took trains, thereby avoiding his passport details being logged by airlines where a travel record could be checked by gardaí

“Taking ferries rather than aeroplanes to avoid having your passport logged – even false ones – smacks of somebody going to great lengths to stay off the grid,” said a source.

“For a fellow who was never in jail before, he’s not remotely fazed by it. It makes you wonder.”

—  Prison source

But why? The only explanation came from his legal defence team of Cork solicitor Frank Buttimer and barrister Brendan Kelly BL.

Kelly told Judge Jonathan Dunphy at Parker’s sentencing hearing that the American had come to Europe on business in the late 1980s but had experienced difficulties with his visa and had been advised by a business associate how to obtain an Irish passport.

Sentencing him, Judge Dunphy said Parker had “threatened the integrity of the passport system in this country”.

At that hearing, the judge was told that Parker worked in the prison library while on remand.

“That does not surprise me; he appears to be a man of books,” replied Det Garda Hanly.

Parker’s reading material in court also added to the intrigue around him; he read a novel by the author of The Godfather, Mario Puzo, and another by thriller writer Lee Child, whose hero Jack Reacher travels light and, like Parker, stays off the grid.

Another curious element is that Parker, when applying for an Irish driving licence, used Phillip Morris’s second name, Francis. A man of the same name, Frank Morris, was one of only three men ever to escape from the famous US island prison Alcatraz.

Since his arrest last year, Parker has proven a model prisoner, working in Cork Prison’s library and in its horticulture section.

“He keeps very much to himself and doesn’t engage with the other prisoners, but he’s taken to prison like a duck to water,” said one prison source.

“For a fellow who was never in jail before, he’s not remotely fazed by it. It makes you wonder.”