Shakespeare fantasist Raymond Scott removed from 'suicide watch' two weeks before killing himself

The Northern Echo: Raymond Scott Raymond Scott

A SELF-styled international playboy serving an eight-year prison sentence for handling a priceless stolen Shakespeare volume was taken off a suicide watch-style programme two weeks before taking his own life, an inquest has heard.

Flamboyant Raymond Scott had been placed on an Assessment Care and Custody Teamwork (ACCT) plan in Northumberland Prison on February 10 last year after he mentioned having suicidal thoughts, the hearing into his death was told today (Monday, December 9).

But by February 29 experts concluded he was no longer a risk to himself and took him off the plan, Detective Constable Sarah Snaith, of Northumbria Police, told the inquest at Berwick Magistrates’ Court.

Prison officers found Scott, 55, dead lying in bed in his cell shortly after 8am on March 14.

He had suffered two wounds to the neck and razor blades were found in his right hand. More blades were found on the floor and his bed, which was covered in blood.

A hand-written note from Scott, dated March 11, indicating he intended to kill himself, was also found.

Tony Brown, the Northumberland coroner, said Scott had a history of mental health issues and was suffering stress due to an appeal he had made against the length of his sentence, which was still ongoing when he died.

He had ‘fleeting’ suicidal thoughts but had said killing himself was something he would not do, Mr Brown added.

Mr Brown directed the jury of five women and four men the only appropriate verdict they could reach was that Scott took his own life - a conclusion they returned after just ten minutes of deliberations.

Scott was jailed for handling a priceless 17th century Shakespeare First Folio stolen from Durham University Library in December 1998.

The literary treasure, described as the most important in the English language, remained missing until Scott produced at the world-renowned Folger Shakespeare Library, in Washington DC, USA, in June 2008.

He claimed to have acquired it in Cuba, but was arrested at the former council house he shared with his elderly mother in Washington, Wearside, following an investigation by the FBI.

At Newcastle Crown Court in 2010, he was cleared of stealing the book but convicted of handling it and removing it from the UK and sentenced to eight years behind bars.

Comments (3)

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5:29pm Mon 9 Dec 13

calumannabel says...

You don't get experts in anything medical or psychiatric in British prisons FACT
When did you last hear of a doctor psychiatrist or psychologist say 'That's it I'm going to make my name in prison medicine?' Last week we had officers in HMP Northallerton and in Moat's case at HMP Durham failing to respond adequately to paperwork. It doesn't bother anyone because prisoners don't matter unless the general public wants them to wreak revenge on sex offenders. Members of the Prison Officers' Association should not be given the responsibility of handling files relating to prisoners' welfare - they are neither trained nor literate enough.
You don't get experts in anything medical or psychiatric in British prisons FACT When did you last hear of a doctor psychiatrist or psychologist say 'That's it I'm going to make my name in prison medicine?' Last week we had officers in HMP Northallerton and in Moat's case at HMP Durham failing to respond adequately to paperwork. It doesn't bother anyone because prisoners don't matter unless the general public wants them to wreak revenge on sex offenders. Members of the Prison Officers' Association should not be given the responsibility of handling files relating to prisoners' welfare - they are neither trained nor literate enough. calumannabel

7:33pm Mon 9 Dec 13

victorjames says...

calumannabel wrote:
You don't get experts in anything medical or psychiatric in British prisons FACT When did you last hear of a doctor psychiatrist or psychologist say 'That's it I'm going to make my name in prison medicine?' Last week we had officers in HMP Northallerton and in Moat's case at HMP Durham failing to respond adequately to paperwork. It doesn't bother anyone because prisoners don't matter unless the general public wants them to wreak revenge on sex offenders. Members of the Prison Officers' Association should not be given the responsibility of handling files relating to prisoners' welfare - they are neither trained nor literate enough.
Excellent comment. I have to say, as well, that the severity of the sentence did seem rather harsh considering the nature of the crime (no loss either of life or a great deal of money) and considering that Scott had a history of mental illness.
[quote][p][bold]calumannabel[/bold] wrote: You don't get experts in anything medical or psychiatric in British prisons FACT When did you last hear of a doctor psychiatrist or psychologist say 'That's it I'm going to make my name in prison medicine?' Last week we had officers in HMP Northallerton and in Moat's case at HMP Durham failing to respond adequately to paperwork. It doesn't bother anyone because prisoners don't matter unless the general public wants them to wreak revenge on sex offenders. Members of the Prison Officers' Association should not be given the responsibility of handling files relating to prisoners' welfare - they are neither trained nor literate enough.[/p][/quote]Excellent comment. I have to say, as well, that the severity of the sentence did seem rather harsh considering the nature of the crime (no loss either of life or a great deal of money) and considering that Scott had a history of mental illness. victorjames

8:40pm Mon 9 Dec 13

greenfinger says...

scandalous sentence, there's a thing on this website today where a man burgled someones home and slashed them numerous times with a ten inch blade and he only got six years. mr scott in my eyes was a flamboyant petty thief who tried for the big one. he needed a stiff sentence for the damage he done for the book but 8 years? howay, two and a half was more in line with reality. no doubt the judge wont even bat an eyelid.
scandalous sentence, there's a thing on this website today where a man burgled someones home and slashed them numerous times with a ten inch blade and he only got six years. mr scott in my eyes was a flamboyant petty thief who tried for the big one. he needed a stiff sentence for the damage he done for the book but 8 years? howay, two and a half was more in line with reality. no doubt the judge wont even bat an eyelid. greenfinger

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