Flamboyant book dealer who stole Shakespeare work took his own life in prison, inquest hears

Raymond Scott
Raymond Scott

A FLAMBOYANT book dealer jailed for handling a stolen edition of the first folio of William Shakespeare’s works killed himself in prison, an inquest heard.

Raymond Scott, who lived in Wingate, was found dead in his cell at Northumberland Prison, near Morpeth, where he was serving an eight-year sentence.

The inquest at Berwick Magistrates’ Court heard that he had severe wounds to his neck and razor blades in his hand.

He had mentioned having suicidal thoughts in the weeks leading up to his death, and a letter was found in his cell saying he intended to kill himself.

The jury was told that Scott had become withdrawn and stressed following the failure of an appeal against his sentence.

The eccentric 55-year-old was caught when he took the 1623 work to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC in the US, and asked for it to be authenticated.

Library staff recognised the book as one that had been stolen from Durham University in 1998.

Scott claimed he had found it in Cuba, and a jury cleared him of stealing the collection but convicted him of handling stolen goods and removing them from Britain.

His lifestyle had left him in tens of thousands of pounds of debt. It was also reported that he had become infatuated with a Cuban waitress and intended to share the proceeds with her.

Coroner Tony Brown recorded a verdict he took his own life.