Tyne & Wear

Shakespeare folio dealer Raymond Scott killed himself

Raymond Scott
Scott had become withdrawn after losing an appeal against his sentence, the inquest heard

An antiques dealer jailed for handling a stolen edition of Shakespeare's first folio took his own life in prison, a coroner has ruled.

Raymond Scott, 55, from County Durham, was found dead with neck wounds at HMP Northumberland in March last year.

He was serving eight years after being convicted of handling the folio.

An inquest in Berwick heard he had left a note saying he intended to kill himself and had razor blades in his hand.

Lost appeal

Scott, who pretended he was wealthy and arrived at his trial at Newcastle Crown Court in a limousine, was cleared of stealing the treasure.

But he was found guilty of handling stolen goods.

The inquest heard he had mentioned having suicidal thoughts and had become withdrawn after losing an appeal against his sentence.

Det Con Sarah Snaith, of Northumbria Police, said Scott was found lying on his bed when prison staff were unlocking doors to rouse inmates.

She said a nurse checked for signs of life but he was already dead.

The folio was stolen from Durham University in 2008

During his trial the jury heard that the 1623 work, a collection of Shakespeare's plays, was stolen from Durham University in 1998.

In 2008, Scott took the book to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC to have it authenticated.

He told staff he had been entrusted with the folio by friends in Cuba, who believed it might be valuable.

Credit card debt

But experts suspected the book was stolen and he was arrested.

During his trial the jury heard Scott boasted of international business interests and homes in Monte Carlo and Lichtenstein.

He drove a Ferrari, wore designer clothes, smoked Cuban cigars and liked vintage champagne.

He had convictions going back more than 20 years and had racked up credit card debts of more than £90,000.

His only legal income was from state benefits.

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