Curling star in tears at medal theft
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.