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Cops ruined my home in search for Di mum's jewels.. now I'm a broken man; POLICE WON'T PAY FOR DAMAGED HOUSE.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE By EMILY MILLER

A SCOTS artist is living in squalor after police trashed his home looking for jewels stolen from Princess Di's mum.

A squad of 30 officers ransacked Jim Donnelly's home searching for jewels owned by the late Frances Shand Kydd.

The 57-year-old artist has been battling ever since for Strathclyde Police to pay for the damage to his rambling villa in Glasgow's east end.

But they have refused - leaving him in a wrecked house with rain pouring in the ceiling and broken pipes leaking through the walls.

Mr Donnelly sent photos of the damage to the force, asking it to restore the place to its original state.

But nothing was done and now he lives confined to one room, unable to pay for heating. He is forced to paint in the kitchen because his studio room was wrecked in the November 2002 raid.

He said: "I'm ripping my hair out trying to get the house repaired but the police are refusing to pay for the damage they done.

"I'm a broken man, living with a stressed-out mind and a stressed-out body.

"The place is freezing, draughty and covered in flood damage. My girlfriend of 14 years left me after the raid caused her a nervous breakdown.

"I was just sitting on the bed as they searched through my antique books, looking for incriminating letters."

Jim now lives alone surrounded by pots and pans to collect the water cascading through his roof.

He earns around pounds 28 a week after paying pounds 65 rent for his bric-a-brac stall in Glasgow's Barras market.

Jewels worth pounds 100,000 had been stolen from Mrs Shand Kydd's home on the Island of Seil, near Oban, on October 24, 2002.

She had left her house to attend the trial of royal butler Paul Burrell.

An anonymous tip-off sparked the search of Mr Donnelly's home by officers from Oban and Strathclyde.

Police only raided one other house, belonging to a man known as Raffles.

Mr Donnelly was lying in bed with a stomach ulcer when the team of officers swooped with crowbars and screwdrivers.

During a seven-hour search he claims they bashed holes in the panelled walls and ceiling and ripped out the staircase.

Mr Donnelly also says that police wrenched the sink and toilet off the walls, broke open his television and electrical switches, turned the beds upside down and smashed a mirror,.

They also dug up the garden and broke water pipes, he claims.

Jim's girlfriend Nancy Pennie could not believe her eyes when she saw what was happening. She had come over as usual to feed their cats.

No traces of the jewellery were found, but Jim collapsed and fainted under the stress of the raid.

Paramedics were called to resuscitate the artist, who paints in the style of fellow Scot Jack Vettriano.

Braveheart and Trainspotting actor Peter Mullan commissioned Jim to do his portrait, and his work was used in the TV police drama Taggart.

He recently donated paintings to the Moira Anderson Foundation and the Gillian Purvis Trust, a charity set up after 33-year-old Gillian died in a house fire in January 2004.

Strathclyde Police refused to comment on Mr Donnelly's allegations last night.

But a police insider said that the force was unlikely to pay him compensation.

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DISTRAUGHT: Jim says his house was wrecked by police search; JEWELS: Frances Shand Kydd
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 9, 2005
Words:567
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