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Tuesday, December 29, 1998 Published at 14:11 GMT


UK

Women force removal of Koestler bust

Jill Craigie, pictured with her husband Michael Foot, was one of Koestler's victims

A bust of the writer and philosopher Arthur Koestler has been removed from display at Edinburgh University after a recent biography claimed he had a history of sexually abusing women.

Several newspapers reported that female students at the university had complained about feeling "uneasy" under the gaze of the bronze bust after reading that Koestler had beaten and raped several women. Some women's groups had apparently threatened to deface it.

A spokesman for the university said it had been removed for security reasons.

The author of classic novels such as The Ghost in the Machine and Darkness at Noon died, aged 77, in a suicide pact with his wife in 1982.

'Serial rapist'

A biography by Professor David Cesarani which came out earlier this year claimed Koestler was a serial rapist but said his victims did not report it because he was such a respected figure.

Prof Cesarani wrote that rape was "almost a hallmark of his conduct".

The book claimed Jill Craigie, wife of the former Labour leader Michael Foot, was one of Koestler's victims. She has since confirmed the claim.

A spokesman for the Edinburgh University students' union said: "There was a feeling that he [Koestler] should not be there. One day the bust just vanished from the foyer."

Koestler bequeathed money in his will which has funded a chair of parapsychology at the university.

Laura Aitken, of Scottish Women's Aid, told The Times: "This is a man known to be serially abusive and violent towards women but the message was being put out that it was okay to glorify him in the halls of fame."





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