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Academic jailed for ripping pages from library's books

PUBLISHED: 11:25 19 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:50 07 September 2010

Farhad Hakimzadeh

Farhad Hakimzadeh

A Knightsbridge academic and millionaire has been jailed for two years for stealing pages and antique books from the British Library. Farhad Hakimzadeh, 60, an Iranian scholar who was a world-famous expert on his country and its relationship with the wes

A Knightsbridge academic and millionaire has been jailed for two years for stealing pages and antique books from the British Library.

Farhad Hakimzadeh, 60, an Iranian scholar who was a world-famous expert on his country and its relationship with the west, had been cutting out priceless illustrations from antique books at the King's Cross institution and the Bodleian library in Oxford, as well as taking two books, all to display in his own library.

He pleaded guilty to 14 offences of theft and asked for a further 20 incidents to be taken into consideration.

Judge Ader said during the sentencing on Friday that the crimes were too serious to allow a non-custodial sentence.

He said: "All the material in this case was in due course recovered but that doesn't put back the books to the position they were in before the theft took place - unfortunately you cannot remake a page that has been cut.

"It is right the items were not stolen for profit but for your library - in a sense a kind of vanity - you wanted to have the best library in your field.

"Whether it was for money or to improve your collection must not give much consolation to the losers of these items - the country, the users of the library and the people who run and work at the library."

The incidents occurred within two years before 2006 and were discovered when a reader noticed a page missing from an ancient book.

A library investigation revealed a trend of missing items from what Mr Hakimzadeh

had been logged as using, and a police search later found those items at his home.

Judge Ader told the Iranian that he would spend one year in prison and the second out on licence.


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