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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Sutcliffe's sister denies Lennon claim
George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon
Sutcliffe (c) formed the band with Harrison and Lennon
The sister of "fifth Beatle" Stuart Sutcliffe has denied saying John Lennon caused the injuries that killed her brother.

Pauline Sutcliffe made the comments as she unveiled a collection of her brother's personal items to be sold off later this month.

She said a fight between Lennon and her brother "could not have been helpful" weeks before the bass guitarist died of a brain haemorrage in 1962.

But she denied saying the fight was directly linked to Sutcliffe's death.

"I did not say what was quoted in the papers and I am shocked by it. I'm distressed for John Lennon's family and for my own family and for millions of Beatles fans worldwide who would be deeply offended by it," she said.

Pauline Sutcliffe is selling more than 100 of her brother's sketch books, photographs, letters, poetry and lyrics at auction house Bonhams in London on Tuesday.

She said the Sutcliffe estate did not earn any income and had been expensive to maintain since he died.

"For years, many of his fans have tried to collect a piece of Stuart's particular piece of history so this was a good time," she said.


Ms Sutcliffe has dedicated her life to collecting memorabilia and writing about her brother, who was one of the original members of the Liverpool group.

Stuart Sutcliffe was a founding member of the Quarrymen, who later became the Beatles, but quit in 1961 before they hit the big time to pursue a career in art.

He died the same year at the age of 21, but was credited with giving the group its distinctive image.

Ms Sutcliffe has collected masses of items from his short life.

Among Sutcliffe's personal belongings for sale include his birth certificate, which is expected to fetch up to 8,000, and exam certificates from his time at the Liverpool College of Art, where he met John Lennon.

Ms Sutcliffe said: "This sale confirms for me that I haven't spent 40 years of my life in vain.


"You see I always believed Stuart was not only the central force behind The Beatles - but also the member who most influenced their public image, making style statements that still reverberate throughout the world to this day.

"More importantly though he was an artist who chose to put his affiliation with The Beatles to the side in order to pursue his first love - his art."

Other items in the sale include sketches, photographs and letters to his family and girlfriend Astrid Kirchherr, who he lived with in Hamburg, Germany.

The 1993 film Backbeat, starring Stephen Dorff, told the story of Sutcliffe's life.

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