May 20 2011 by Court Reporter, Stirling Observer Friday
A THIEF who went on the run for more than two years told a court that he had cancer – but his former girlfriend insists he does not have the illness.
Sean Cowie (27) stole a rare first edition of the poems of TS Eliot from a friend in Stirling and sold it for £4000 before going missing for two years.
Stirling Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday that he had been arrested eight times since he went on the run and told custody staff he had the three forms of cancer.
But his ex said that she was in no doubt that he does not have the illness.
Fiscal depute Sonia Kalkat told the court: “On eight occasions that he has been arrested since January 2009 he has advised custody staff that he suffers from either testicular cancer, breast cancer or bowel cancer.”
She said police spoke to Cowie’s former partner, said to be expecting his child. The fiscal depute continued: “She said she is in no doubt that he doesn’t have cancer.
“When she questioned him about whether any cancer may affect their child, Cowie faked a letter from the consultant and later admitted this.”
Ms Kalkat said Cowie had also told medical staff at Barlinnie Prison that he had previously had testicular cancer and currently had bowel cancer and had undergone chemotherapy for this.
Cowie also told the prison staff that he had an appointment at the oncology department at Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow next week but there was apparently no record of Cowie in the system when checks were made.
Ms Kalkat also read information from the accused’s GP, who said Cowie is “not known to suffer from cancer”.
Cowie, representing himself, said there were no records for him as he previously used his middle name.
He said he had been treated for breast cancer in 2009 and testicular cancer in 2010 but could not remember the names of the doctors who had treated him, adding: “A lot has happened in the last three years. My memory’s not great and my entire life is run by my iPhone.”
When asked why his ex-girlfriend said that he did not have cancer, he replied: “It might just be sour grapes on her part.”
Despite pleading to be allowed out on bail, Cowie was remanded in custody.
He was also made to sign a mandate so that his medical records can be formally checked.
Cowie stole the rare book in 2008. It was eventually traced to an Oxfordshire bookseller, who confirmed that they had been contacted by a man who turned out to be Cowie.
The book experts paid £4000 for it, wiring the money to a Scottish bank account to which Cowie had access and arranging for a courier to collect it from his flat.
When spoken to by police Cowie immediately admitted that he had taken it. He later pleaded guilty to the theft.
Cowie, who told the court that his current address was Drip Road, Stirling, will appear in court again on Tuesday.