A man who faked his own death to make a TikTok video could potentially be sued, a barrister has warned.
Belgian David Baerten asked his family to tell people he had passed away and organise a funeral.
The 45-year-old was annoyed that his friends were paying him insufficient attention.
As people arrived at the funeral, a helicopter appeared in the sky, Mr Baerten sauntered out and mourners ran to embrace him.
Barrister Peter Leonard described the stunt as “attention seeking of the highest degree” and warned Mr Baerten could even be sued.
“Potentially, there would be a claim here for a thing called nervous shock,” he told Moncrieff.
“Which is a law of tort and this arises where, as we know, in tort you have somebody who does something and somebody suffers as a result.
“In this instance, this man comes back and somebody sees this and the reaction of seeing someone that you thought was dead, that could potentially cause PTSD and somebody could have psychological and psychiatric fallout as a result of that.
“And then you would have a claim in tort and wouldn’t it be great if this guy was penalised in this way?”
There are no reports of anyone at the funeral suffering from PTSD.
@el.tiktokeur2 Tu nous as eu on t aime mon ami on est content que tu es parmis nous ❤️❤️#pourtoii #fyp #fypシ @Ragnar_le_fou ♬ son original - Thomas faut
In certain circumstances, faking your own death could lead to jail time - especially if it leads to money changing hands.
“It’s kind of a ridiculous situation,” Mr Leonard said.
“The notion of faking your own death, it has happened and if it does happen and if it’s done for a particular reason and the particular reason is fraud in order to draw down a life insurance policy, now that would be something where the law would jump in.”
In 1974, British MP John Stonehouse left his clothes on a beach in Miami and vanished.
It was widely assumed he had drowned but in fact he had travelled to Australia on a fake passport.
Eventually, bank staff in Melbourne grew suspicious of him and he was arrested and deported back to Britain.
In 1976, he was convicted and jailed for fraud, theft and deception.