Art dealer jailed for fraud after prosecutors trawl decades of records

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Sep 13, 2017
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A painting of Marilyn Monroe was among the artworks involved in the case

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An art dealer who stole or unlawfully sold paintings depicting celebrities including Princess Diana was jailed yesterday for four years, after prosecution lawyers trawled through several decades worth of transactions.

Jonathan Poole, 69, was sentenced at Gloucester crown court having admitted to multiple theft offences at an earlier hearing.

Over three decades it is estimated Poole, of Poulton near Cirencester, made more than £500,000 by selling artwork he was not entitled to or by taking percentages of the profits from legitimate sales. 

Owners of the stolen artworks included the estates of the musicians Miles Davis and John Lennon. The roll call of names that were the subjects of the portraits was also a who’s who of 20th century celebrity, including Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Kate Moss and Marilyn Monroe. Much of the artwork had been painted by Jagger’s Rolling Stones bandmate Ronnie Wood.

Prosecutors said that a forensic analysis of financial transactions over several decades was the key to obtaining the conviction. The court was told that Poole ran into financial difficulties and closed his galleries in Compton Cassey and Fossebridge, both in Gloucestershire.

After the closure, efforts were made to trace the stolen artworks and return them to their rightful owners.

James Ward of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “While some of the stolen artwork may never be recovered, I hope today’s sentence provides some sense of justice to the victims whose trust was breached by Poole.”

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