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Man pleads guilty to Dumfries gold medal theft

Rhona Martin kissed by son Andrew and daughter Jennifer Photo: PA

One of two men accused of stealing the gold medal won by Rhona Martin has admitted committing the theft.

Rhona won the medal when she skipped the GB women’s team at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

25-year-old Charlie Walker pleaded guilty to breaking into Dumfries Museum.

He also pleaded guilty to taking the medal along with other sporting mementoes, as well as a chain of office and a casket containing an historical scroll.

The 22 karat medal had been loaned by the gold medallist, now Rhona Howie, for display in an exhibition tied to a curling event in the area.

The medal has not been recovered.

At Dumfries Sheriff Court, the curling sportswoman described the medal as “irreplaceable.”

Giving evidence on the opening day of the trial, she said:

“In all my years of playing that was a special one... I was gutted when I heard it had been stolen and just went into tears.”

– Rhona Howie, Olympic athlete

The guilty plea by Charlie Walker comes on the third day of the trial in which he and 34-year-old Stewart Pettigrew had both initially pleaded not guilty to committing the offence in April 2014.

Sheriff Brian Mohan deferred sentence to the end of the case.

The fiscal depute Pamela Rhodes accepted a plea of not guilty by Charlie Walker to a further charge of stealing a car in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, a month prior to the medal theft.

The jury of nine women and six men heard how the activation of an alarm led to the discovery that a door and a shutter had been forced open.

Police were then alerted to find display cabinets smashed with broken glass on the floor.

CCTV film was shown which it was claimed identified the two men visiting the museum separately two days earlier.

Footage was also shown of three men breaking into the museum and smashing the cabinets.

Detective constable Grant Storey said that although it was shot in the dark, they were able to form a description of the clothing, but not enough for identification of the trio.