Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Flashy Fraudster with Love of High Life Dies in Jail; Man Convicted of Handling Stolen Shakespeare Treasure

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Flashy Fraudster with Love of High Life Dies in Jail; Man Convicted of Handling Stolen Shakespeare Treasure

Article excerpt

SHAKESPEARE book crook Raymond Scott has been found dead in prison.

The 55-year-old was jailed for eight years in August 2010, after he was caught with a rare collection of the Bard's plays, which had been stolen from Durham University more than 10 years earlier.

Scott was pronounced dead yesterday morning after being found unconscious in his cell at HMP Acklington, Northumberland.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "Inquiries are currently being carried out into the death.

"At this stage there is not believed to be any third-party involvement."

Scott lived a bizarre, lavish playboy lifestyle, funded by crime. With a taste for Cuban cigars and champagne, which he claimed to consume daily, he became a career fraudster to fund his appetite for the high life, which included driving around in a yellow Ferrari.

He claimed to have international business interests and homes in Monte Carlo and Liechtenstein.

But in reality he had never worked in his life and instead managed to rack up pounds 90,000 of credit card debt, while living on benefits.

See Raymond Scott's colourful life in pictures at: www.chroniclelive.co.uk And his fantasy unravelled in 2008 when he attempted to sell the pounds 1.5m Shakespeare book, stolen from Durham University library in 1998.

He planned to use the proceeds to clear his debts and win the heart of a Cuban dancer he had become infatuated with while holidaying on the island.

But when he turned up at the renowned Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, where he thought he could sell the damaged rare first folio, experts in the Bard's works instantly recognised it as the one that had been stolen from Durham An investigation was launched by Durham Constabulary and Scott was arrested at the Washington, Tyne and Wear, home he shared with his elderly mother in 2008.

During his trial at Newcastle Crown Court, Scott denied knowing that the collection of 36 plays, published seven years after Shakespeare's death, was stolen and insisted he had found the 387-year-old work in Cuba.

But the jury found him guilty of handling stolen goods and removing stolen property from Britain, although he was cleared of stealing the book. …

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