Monday, August 2, 2010

Theater, sex, crime converge once again

The man who stole Shakespeare to fund a good time and a girl got eight years and a tongue-lashing from a judge for booklegging a priceless early edition of the Bard's works, the British press reported today.
An unemployed antiques dealer with a taste for the high life was jailed today for eight years after he was convicted of handling a stolen copy of a rare first collection of Shakespeare's plays.

Raymond Scott, 53, who drove a yellow Ferrari and posed as an international playboy despite having huge debts, walked into one of the world's leading Shakespeare research centres with the 17th century book.

Staff at the renowned Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. recognised the valuable book and called the police, the British Embassy and the FBI.

Regarded as one of the most important printed works in the English language, less than 250 copies of the collection survive.

They were first printed in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death.
Judge angered by crime against culture ...
Last month a jury at Newcastle Crown Court found Scott guilty of handling stolen goods and removing stolen property from Britain.

However, he was cleared of stealing the book from Durham University in 1988.
Passing sentence, Judge Richard Lowden said: "You are to some extent a fantasist and have to some degree a personality disorder and you have been an alcoholic.

"It is clear that from the (psychiatric) report you are not suffering from any mental disorder."

Passing sentence, the judge branded the damage to the First Folio as "cultural vandalisation" and described it as a "quintessentially English treasure".

He said Scott had either deliberately damaged the book himself or was party to its damage and attempted to benefit from it.

"It would be regarded by many as priceless but to you it was definitely at a very big price and you went to very great lengths for that price," Judge Lowden told Scott.

"Your motivation was for financial gain.

"You wanted to fund an extremely ludicrous playboy lifestyle in order to impress a woman you met in Cuba.

"Your Cuban friends were brought in to provide support for your elaborate scheme."


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