By Jeff Hampton
Things are going from bad to worse for the fake engineer who supervised construction of the CTV building in Christchurch.
Gerald Shirtcliff's history of fraud and deception has led to a big Australian university revoking the degree he obtained there under someone else's name.
Maan Al-Khaisi is an associate professor of engineering. His wife Maysoon Abbas died in the collapse of the CTV building, and he's delighted Shirtcliff's lost his degree.
“He deserves his degree to be stripped,” says Mr Al-Khaisi. “I am not surprised why so many design flaws, design problems, design weaknesses, have not been picked.”
Sixty-seven-year-old Shirtcliff, who lives in Brisbane, has gained notoriety after revelations he stole the identity of English engineer William Fisher and used his qualification to gain entry to the University of New South Wales.
In a statement the university said: “The University of New South Wales has notified Mr Gerald Shirtcliff, otherwise known as William Fisher, that it has revoked the degree of Master of Engineering Science in Highway Engineering awarded to William Fisher on 17 April 1974."
The Shirtcliff household had little to say, though others he's ripped off in New Zealand had more to say - he stole Phil Stanley's idea for a dual-fuel system after Mr Stanley took him into his house while Shirtcliff was on home detention.
“I'm really disappointed in him that we showed so much love and understanding to him that he couldn't at least be straight with us, he just can't help himself,” says Mr Stanley.
Shirtcliff's worked on big projects in Australia, but has got the boot from their Professional Engineers' Organisation.
Shirtcliff's Christmas is unlikely to be a merry one - this year he's been exposed as a fraudster, stripped of his engineering degree and he remains under investigation by police on both sides of the Tasman.