Dam­busters thief con­victed

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - News -

A mil­i­tary his­to­rian who stole a trea­sured log book from the widow of an RAF air­man who was in the Dam­busters squadron more than 20 years ago has fi­nally been found guilty.

Alexan­der Bate­man, 48, was found guilty of theft at London’s Wood Green Crown Court.

The log book, which be­longed to the late Sergeant John Fraser, has never been found and Bate­man has re­fused to re­veal what hap­pened to it.

He con­tacted the vic­tim in 1996 while re­search­ing the air­men in­volved in the Dam­busters RAF squadron.

She agreed to send him her hus­band’s log book to help with his re­search.

Sev­eral years later, Bate­man con­tacted the vic­tim’s daugh­ter, who was un­aware he had been loaned the log book.

Af­ter learn­ing Bate­man had it, she asked for it to be re­turned in Jan­uary 2003, but an en­ve­lope ar­rived from Bate­man which had been cut open. There was no log book in­side.

He ini­tially claimed the book must have been lost, but then said he had got it back from the Post Of­fice.

His story then changed again and he claimed he had been gifted the book with­out con­di­tion.

He later pro­duced a Christ­mas card he claimed was from the vic­tim, which had a note writ­ten in­side ap­par­ently con­firm­ing his story of own­er­ship.

In 2003, Bate­man claimed he was bur­gled and the log book had been stolen.

The fam­ily re­ported the mat­ter to po­lice last year and anal­y­sis of the writ­ing in the Christ­mas card con­cluded that it was not writ­ten by the vic­tim.

Bate­man, from Har­row, West London, is due to be sen­tenced on Fe­bru­ary 3.

Alexan­der Bate­man

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