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Last Updated: Monday, 23 July 2007, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
Man claims wife took 007 artwork
Ian Fleming
The artwork included original designs for Fleming's 007 novels
A James Bond fan's ex-wife helped herself to his artwork collection, including original designs for Ian Fleming's novels, a court has heard.

Colin Larkin, of Lavenham, Suffolk, claims that after their brief marriage ended, Kelly Harte walked away with almost 60 of his artworks.

At London's High Court Miss Harte admitted she had 31 items from her ex-husband's collection.

But Miss Harte, of Keighley, West, Yorkshire, insists he gave them to her.

Mr Larkin, the author of the Encyclopaedia of Pop Music, says the works are worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

'Car boot' claim

Miss Harte at first denied she had any of the missing artwork.

She told Mr Larkin in an e-mail that it was "fitting" that anything he had ever given her had "ended up on Keighley's council tip", the court heard.

However, she later agreed she had 31 items from her ex-husband's collection, although she insists he gave them to her and his court bid to get them back is an "abuse of process".

In March this year, a senior court official ruled Miss Harte had no realistic defence to her ex-husband's claims and entered a summary judgement against her.

But Mr Justice Underhill has opened the way for Miss Harte to put her side of the story at a full trial at a date to be fixed.

The court heard how the couple married in April 2000, but their relationship broke down after only a few months.

Mr Larkin claims that, during a brief reconciliation in 2002, she took from his home 58 art works, part of his much larger collection of original designs for books published by Pan.

Mr Larkin says he was informed in 2004 by an art dealer that Miss Harte had approached him to ask him about the sale of 33 Pan cover designs.

He claims his ex-wife told the dealer she had bought the art works "many years previously at a car boot sale".

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