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Infamous cat burglar Peter Scott, a self named Robin Hood who stole from the rich and famous, has died aged 82Peter Scott stole 30 million from the rich and famous in his lifetime, he saidHe would scale drainpipes of pricy homes in Mayfair wearing smart suits to blend inHis crimes provided Fleet Street with numerous column inches during his heyday
02:09 GMT, 24 March 2013
02:09 GMT, 24 March 2013
Peter Scott, a prolific cat burglar who identified himself as a modern Robin Hood, has died aged 82.
Living on benefits in a council flat in Islington, North London, his final days were a far cry from his lifetime devoted to stealing millions from the rich and famous.
Among his victims, none of whom he held in high esteem, were such stars as Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Vivien Leigh, Lauren Bacall, and the gambling club and zoo owner John Aspinall, of whom he recalled: 'Robbing that bastard Aspinall was one of my favourites,' according to the Telegraph.
High-society cat burglar Peter Scott, pictured in 1998, has died aged 82
In total, by Scott's own reckoning, he stole jewels, furs and artworks worth more than 30 million. One of his most 'successful' jobs was stealing a 200,000 necklace from Sophia Loren, whom he described as having 'got what she deserved' when she was in Britain filming The Millionaires in 1960.
Fleet Street at the time said it was the biggest jewellery robbery ever in Britain; it earned Scott 30,000 from a 'fence' according to the Telegraph.
From an early age, Scott was destined for an exciting life of crime. At first he alluded capture but eventually his illicit actions caught up with him and he spent numerous years behind bars.
Born on February 18, 1931, in Belfast, to a middle-class military family in Belfast, Peter Craig Gulston's father died when he was young and his mother emigrated to the US.
Scott said Italian actress Sophia Loren, pictured circa 1965, 'got what she deserved' after stealing a 200,000 necklace from her
A bright young boy, Peter was however trouble. He went to Belfast Royal Academy, but was inept at exams; instead he managed to swindle away the entirety of his father's inheritance.
As a teenager he turned to crime, burgling the posh homes in Malone Road in his school scarf and filling his rugby bag.
According to his memoirs, Scott claims he got away with 150 such crimes before police eventually caught up with him in 1952, but he still got away with just six months in Crumlin Road jail, after only being charged with 12 jobs.
Once free, he changed his name to Scott and moved to London and like a moth to a flame, found himself wandering the streets of Mayfair and Belgravia, planning his next jobs.
He began working as a pub bouncer and at night, would creep into the homes of London's richest. Taking his burgling career seriously, he carefully planned every raid, wearing a new suit for each burglary to blend in, if caught.
On numerous occasions he was interrupted once inside, but with a reassuring call of, 'It's only me,' or 'Everything's alright, madam,' his appearance and demeanor meant he got away with his crimes.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Scott would select his targets by going through the Daily Mail or the Daily Express. He even decided to join a swanky London tennis club to mingle with the wealthy, coaching more 'rich prats' who would likely become his victims.
Even up until the 1980s Scott continued to climb up drainpipes and enter buildings through skilled and stealthy means.
By the mid-1990s, Scott had served 12 years inside over the course of half a dozen different stretches. He was jailed for another three years in 1998 following the theft of Picasso's Tete de Femme from Lefevre Gallery in Mayfair the previous year.
In his memoirs, Gentleman Thief (1995) he described his victims as 'upper class prats chattering in monosyllables'.
Elizabeth Taylor playing with her pearls in a scene from the film 'Ash Wednesday', 1973, was a victim, as was actress Lauren Bacall, right
He wrote: 'The people I burgled got rich through greed and skullduggery. They indulged in the mechanics of ostentation – they deserved me and I deserved them. If I rob Ivana Trump, it is just a meeting of two different types of degeneracy on a dark rooftop.'
He lived his heyday flashing his cash on luxury cars and fast women. His glamorous girlfriends included the model Jackie Bowyer – the second of his four wives.
Scott, however, ended up broke and was declared bankrupt owing creditors 440,000.
A son survives him.