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Last Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK
Guard admits Potter book thefts
JK Rowling
Copies of Rowling's latest book were stolen six weeks before release
A security guard who tried to sell stolen copies of the latest Harry Potter novel has admitted theft and possessing an imitation gun.

Aaron Lambert stole two copies of Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince on 2 June, six weeks before its release.

Northampton Crown Court heard he stole the books from the distribution centre where he worked in Corby, Northants.

Lambert, of Kettering, Northants, was arrested after two deals with national newspaper reporters went wrong.

The bodybuilder, 20, who was arrested when armed police swooped on his flat, also admitted possessing an imitation Walther PPK pistol with intent to cause fear of violence.

It (the gun) was pointed at my left shoulder and it was waved about my upper body
Sun reporter John Askill

Matthew Brookes-Baker, prosecuting, told the court Lambert brandished the gun in front of Sun newspaper reporter John Askill during negotiations with the journalist to sell the two copies of JK Rowling's latest novel.

The court heard Mr Askill told police Lambert had pointed the gun at him and later fired the weapon as he fled from his flat in Tresham Street, Kettering.

"It was pointed at my left shoulder and it was waved about my upper body," Mr Askill told police in interviews.

Accused remanded

He added: "During this I really had the belief that Aaron was going to use the gun. He appeared very angry and he was shaking."

Lambert, who denies pointing the weapon at the reporter, will face a trial of issue before a judge into whether or not he pointed the gun at the reporter during the stand-off.

Nina Graham, defending, told the court: "The gun was discharged by accident and it was while the gun was pointed at the ground.

"When it (the gun) did go off it certainly was not being pointed at anyone."

Lambert was remanded in custody on Monday by Recorder Richard Benson QC.


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