Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Give Me a Day in Court'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Give Me a Day in Court'

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Loraine

THE North East book dealer arrested over the theft of a priceless first edition of Shakespeare's works yesterday said he would welcome a day in court to clear his name.

Raymond Scott, 51, walked into Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, USA, in July with what experts say may be a book stolen from Durham University Library a decade ago.

But Mr Scott maintains he came across the book he took to the library to be verified as genuine in Cuba through a friend of his 21-year-old fiancee.

Now almost three months into the police investigation into the theft, Mr Scott says he is confident he will escape charges.

And he explained he has been busily replenishing his literature collection, buying four collections of Shakespeare, when his house was searched and partly emptied by officers following his arrest in July.

A list of the items taken from his house sent to Mr Scott's lawyer by Durham Police and seen by The Journal included almost 1,500 books, two boxes of cigars, a bottle of champagne, 27 designer suits and a silver Ferrari 456.

Mr Scott said: "It's basically suspending your life - totally disrupting your life.

"I haven't been able to see my fiancee in Cuba because I haven't got my passport.

"They've taken things belonging to me and my mother as well.

"I'm not scared because this is fair England and I have done nothing wrong.

"I was released from the police station without charge and I don't have to prove my innocence.

"I hope, and I am pretty confident, that I won't be charged.

"But almost, in a way, I would welcome a day in open court because obviously, at the moment, the only mouthpiece I have is through the press." Mr Scott - who lives with his 80-year-old mother in Widgeon Close, Washington, Tyne and Wear - was arrested in July and questioned at Durham city police station over two days.

The first folio edition, printed in 1623 and valued by police at pounds 15m, is said by police to be among books taken from the library in 1998.

Mr Scott says he took the book to Washington because his fiancee and her Cuban friend, whose family had owned it since 1877, could not go to America. …

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