Crash that exposed Aussie fugitive
HE LIVED at the most famous beach in the world where he regularly went out on the promenade to drink cocktails and enjoyed the high status of being a private English teacher.
Daniel Marcos Philips of Melbourne was a friendly man who taught boys English and loved sipping on caipirinhas, Brazil's national cocktail, at Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach, where he lived.
But really, Philips was a fugitive paedophile wanted in two Australian states living undercover in Rio de Janeiro for decades.
It was only when a car ploughed into summer evening revellers on a crowded seaside boardwalk at Copacabana Beach that Philips' life of lies began to unravel.
The January 18 crash caused immediate anger among locals, who thought it was a terrorist attack, when it killed an 18-month old and injured 15 people.
Tourists had begun to arrive in Rio ahead of February's Carnival celebrations, and witnesses said the car crashed with terrible force through people, tables and chairs, before coming to a stop on the sand.
Niedja da Silva Araújo, 23, was pushing baby Marie Louise in a pram, when the car killed her child and injured the mother.
As Araujo went to hospital, counted among the injured were two Australians including 68-year-old Daniel Philips, who had head injuries.
Police arrested the car's driver, Antonio de Almeida Anaquim, 41, who had an epileptic seizure behind the wheel of his black Hyundai, but whose driving licence had previously been suspended.
Philips was taken to the Miguel Couto Hospital, his passport was checked and authorities told the Brazilian press who he was.
Brazilian police contacted the Australian Consulate, which is 25 minutes from the beach, and the wheels began to turn for the sad process of informing Philips' family.
Only, Brazilian immigration had no record of Daniel Philips ever arriving in the country.
Back in Australia, no record existed of a Daniel Marcos Philips with the birth date of the man in the coma at Miguel Couto - October 10, 1949.
Brazilian police spoke with two younger men who appeared to have been adopted by Phillips in Rio, and colleagues who described him as a native English speaker.
The police now widened their search, taking a fingerprint from the comatose Philips to send to Australia, the UK and the US.
Police in Australia had a match: "Daniel Philips" had been arrested in the Northern Territory 24 years earlier on 17 child sex offences against boys.
His real name was Christopher John Gott, born in Victoria on May 31, 1954, who had worked as a high school teacher in Melbourne in the 1980s.
In 1992, he had moved to Darwin to teach and in 1994, NT police had charged him with multiple child sex offences including sexual intercourse with a child under 14 and gross indecency and sexual abuse of a 16-year-old.
Gott served two years of a maximum six years in prison, and upon his release fled the Territory telling parole officers he would be living with his parents in Melbourne.
Gott vanished, never arriving in Melbourne where police now wanted to question him about possible child sex offences as a teacher at a school in the inner city suburb of Fitzroy.
He had breached his parole conditions, which allowed him to leave the Territory on the proviso he live at the approved address of his parents and have no contact with boys under 16.
An NT warrant was issued, however it is unclear when Gott left Australia or arrived in Brazil.
His passport under the name of Philips is a fake, purportedly issued in Melbourne in May 2010.
According to Brazilian reports, he gained employment as an English teacher in Rio up to 20 years ago, and raised three children as his children.
Tests on the man in hospital showed Gott's brain was severely damaged, and he was not expected to survive except perhaps in a vegetative state.
Investigations began into what havoc he may have wreaked with Brazilian children during his tenure at an international Rio school, and tutoring privately.
Last Thursday, Rio de Janeiro's Municipal Office of Health confirmed Gott's death from multiple organ failure.
It has emerged that Gott's three foster children include one also called Daniel, now an adult, who according to Brazilian news reports was "shocked" to learn of his foster father's secret past.
"He was a fundamental person in my development, he helped me a lot, until I turned 21," Daniel told Brazilian TV network Rede Globo.
"I learned perfect English with him, [he was] always a nice person."
Daniel said neither he nor two other young men were abused Gott.
The Brazilian TV report, produced with Sydney journalist Andre Rosa, and revealed Gott was considered a friendly man who taught English, and regularly went to the beach and drank caipirinhas, Brazil's national cocktail.