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New book tells tale of ‘Bling Lear’ crook

JAILED ... the flamboyant Raymond Scott before he was arrested, tried and convicted of handling stolen property, a Shakespeare first folio.

JAILED ... the flamboyant Raymond Scott before he was arrested, tried and convicted of handling stolen property, a Shakespeare first folio.

A NEW book is set to hit the shelves revealing the extraordinary story behind a South Tyneside man – dubbed “Bling Lear” – who shocked the literary world.

Three years ago, South Shields-born Raymond Scott was jailed after trying to sell a priceless Shakespeare first folio which had been stolen a decade earlier.

Dubbed a fantasist, Scott tried to cash in on the book, which was taken from a library at Durham University in 1998.

The priceless work had been “mutilated” in a bid to pass it off as a newly discovered original to experts at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, USA.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard book boffins could not be fooled and Scott, a lonely eccentric who lived with his elderly mother in Washington, became the centre of a Transatlantic police probe.

In August 2010, Scott was jailed for eight years. In March 2012, he was found dead in his prison cell, apparently having cut his own throat.

Now, North East journalist Mike Kelly, who corresponded with Scott during his time in jail, has written Shakespeare & Love, which looks at the bizarre life of Scott and the story behind the case.

The author claims Scott confessed to him that he actually stole the book, but later retracted the statement, saying he was “only joking”.

Scott provided a series of interviews to Kelly, during which new evidence emerged, including the naming of a possible second suspect.

The Walter Mitty character caused a media sensation after his arrest, turning up at court in various guises, including Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara brandishing two guns and a tartan clad MacBeth.

He would also often surrounded by busty women or burly minders he had paid for.

n Shakespeare & Love: The Inside Story of the Crime that Stunned the Book World is due to be published on November 21, by Ashgrove Publishing.

Twitter @shieldsgazette

 

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