Print worker 'is a broken man' after stealing HP chapters

  May 15, 2003 at 1:12 AM ET
      HPANA (via Independent)

Independentopens in new window reports:

The allure of the Harry Potter fortune turned a "decent, hard-working" employee into an impulsive thief who was now a "broken man", a court was told yesterday.

Donald Parfitt stole unpublished pages from the latest of J K Rowling's phenomenally successful books and tried to sell them to a newspaper for £25,000 but was trapped when the police were called in.

He admitted theft of the first three chapters of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix from the printing firm where he worked as a forklift truck driver. The 44-year-old said he found the pages in the car park and put them in his lunchbox in an opportunistic crime. As he left court, his sentence adjourned until 4 June, Parfitt said: "I deeply regret what I have done."

Magistrates at Lowestoft, Suffolk, were told that Parfitt worked at Clays in Bungay, where it was being printed. "He had a normal day's work at Clays. He came out of work and was waiting for a lift. On the floor in the car park was this item, some chapters from the new book," said Richard Mann, for the defence.

"This is a man who is very contrite and very apologetic and extremely ashamed for his actions. His background is unremarkable. He lives with his partner and son," Mr. Mann said.

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