Curl­ing star in tears at medal theft

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - NEWS -

Olympic curler Rhona Howie cried when told her gold medal from the 2002 win­ter games had been stolen from a Dum­fries mu­seum.

She told a jury: “In all my years of play­ing that was a spe­cial one … I was gut­ted, I just went into tears.”

Ms Howie, who was known as Rhona Martin when she skipped Bri­tain’s women’s curl­ing team to gold in Salt Lake City in Amer­ica, was giv­ing ev­i­dence at Dum­fries Sher­iff Court where three men have been ac­cused of steal­ing the medal.

Only two of the men are in the dock, 34-year-old Ste­wart Pet­ti­grew, of This­tle Grove Car­a­van Park, Collin, Dum­fries, and 25-year-old Char­lie Walker.

Both pleaded not guilty to com­mit­ting the of­fence in April 2014.

Ms Howie, who lives in Ayr­shire, told the jury how the medal rep­re­sented, to her, all the years, hard work and the many hours of prac­tis­ing and com­pe­ti­tion she had put into the sport and it had never been re­cov­ered.

She said: “I used to take it to schools and let the kids have a go at wear­ing it … I can’t do that now and it feels quite hard.”

And she went on to tell how she had loaned the medal along with other items from her ca­reer for a spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion set up at the mu­seum to co­in­cide with a curl­ing event in the area.

Shown a pho­to­graph of the medal and asked if it would be pos­si­ble to get a re­place­ment she replied: “It is ir­re­place­able.”

She added that it wasn’t some­thing that peo­ple could dis­play and say it was theirs – it was 22ct gold and the only pos­si­ble value would be through melt­ing it down.

The court heard that en­try to the mu­seum was gained by jem­my­ing a door and a shut­ter.

A staff mem­ber told the court of the night the alert was raised when the se­cu­rity alarm was ac­ti­vated shortly af­ter 10pm.

The jury watched CCTV show­ing raiders in­side the mu­seum.

Film taken two days ear­lier was also shown with two men vis­it­ing the mu­seum sep­a­rately but at the same time and in­spect­ing the dis­plays.

The trial be­fore Sher­iff Brian Mo­han is con­tin­u­ing.

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