A FORMER Hampshire antiques dealer has been found guilty of fraud by a jury at Southampton Crown Court.

Allan Formhals was too ill to appear in court yesterday to be told he was guilty of eight charges of selling books with forged signatures of people including Winston Churchill.

The 66-year-old was found guilty of two charges of being in possession of articles for the use in fraud which included forged autographs of JRR Tolkien.

The signatures of other notable figures from history and literature involved in the case, included Elizabeth I, Oliver Cromwell, TS Eliot, and artist Pablo Picasso.

A jury found the Milford-on-Sea man not guilty of two similar charges after nine hours of deliberation.

Formhals, who had suffered a heart attack while he was in custody, was taken to hospital yesterday morning with high blood pressure.

Three remaining charges are yet to be decided upon by the jury.

Judge Peter Henry has asked them to consider a majority verdict.