Court told of Burley book-seller's 'fake' signatures

Daily Echo: Allan Formhals Allan Formhals

AN ANTIQUE book-seller was conned into buying books supposedly signed by Sir Winston Churchill from a Hampshire dealer, a court heard.

Over the course of six meetings from 2009, Kim Taylor-Smith and his father spent £10,000 buying books containing allegedly fake signatures of the wartime prime minister from Allan Formhals, pictured, who denies the accusations.

After initially meeting through an Internet auction site, the three subsequently met at the White Buck Inn, in Burley in the New Forest.

But when Mr Taylor-Smith took the books to sell to a London antique book-seller towards the end of 2010 he discovered the signatures were fake, Southampton Crown Court heard.

Formhals told Mr Taylor-Smith the books came into his possession from “an old couple”

who kept the house of late Second World War Spitfire ace Neville Duke, who was a friend of Churchill.

Mr Taylor-Smith later added: “I had a great doubt in my mind as to whether the old couple existed. I suggested to Mr Formhals that we go to meet the old couple because they were supplying him with fake signatures.” No meeting ever took place, the court heard.

Formhals, 66, from Milford-on-Sea, pleads not guilty to 13 counts of fraud for selling books with fake signatures of famous people to collectors. He also denies being in possession of fake signatures.

Proceeding.

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