Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Jailed Shakespeare crook found dead

An unemployed antiques dealer jailed for eight years for handling a stolen copy of a rare first collection of Shakespeare's plays has died in jail.

Raymond Scott, 55, was pronounced dead at about 8.40am on Wednesday after being found unconscious in his cell in Northumberland Prison.

Scott was jailed in August 2010 after being caught when he walked into a Shakespeare research centre with the 17th century book which was recognised by staff.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: "As with all deaths in custody, the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation."

A jury at Newcastle Crown Court found Scott guilty in July 2010 of handling stolen goods and removing stolen property from Britain but cleared him 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."

Staff at the renowned Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC 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, fewer than 250 copies of the collection survive.

They were first printed in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death.


From Belfast Telegraph