Historian jailed over theft of war hero widow's Dambusters logbook

10/02/2017

A military historian who stole a logbook from the widow of a WWII Dambusters pilot has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

Alex Bateman, 48, [03/07/1968] made up a series of excuses for failing to return Flight Sergeant John Fraser's logbook which had been loaned to him by the war hero's widow Doris in 1996.

Bateman first claimed it had been lost in the post, then that it had been stolen in a burglary, and finally forged a Christmas card from Mrs Fraser, appearing to gift the logbook to him.

He was sentenced today after he was convicted by a jury at an earlier trial at Wood Green Court, by HHJ Dodd, who asked him one last time to reveal where the logbook was.

Nicola Wood, CPS London reviewing lawyer, said: "The judge described this as a despicable offence reflecting the fact that Bateman has repeatedly tried to deceive Mrs Fraser and her daughter, and finally the court itself.

"Sadly because of his continued denials we still do not know what Bateman did with the original, which was worth an estimated £10,000 to £15,000 and had huge sentimental value, but we have future confiscation hearings and hope to recover some money on behalf of the family.

"I would like to add my thanks to the Fraser Lowe family who were praised by the judge today, and who gave evidence by video link and by written testimony, and flew over from the USA to see justice done."