Johnny Marr gets his guitar back, ten years on

Feb 19, 2010
Sophie Taylor

A fan stole Gibson guitar from Smiths man - he should have entered our competition instead

Ten years after it disappeared from the Scala nightclub, Johnny Marr has finally recovered his 1964 cherry-red Gibson guitar – and it transpires that it was a fan of the former Smiths guitarist who sneaked backstage to steal it. Appearing in court after a tip-off led police to his Enfield home, Stephen White said he was “disgusted” with what he had done.

The disappearing guitar made the headlines in 2000, with Marr, one of Britain’s most respected guitarists, offering a reward for its safe return. Normally worth around £6,000 the instrument has been valued at £30,000 because of its association with Marr. Now it emerges it has spent the last decade in White’s home, occasionally being played – and on one occasion having to be taken for repair after White trod on it.

The full-time carer appeared in Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, north London this week to admit the theft. His defence counsel told the court White was taking the anti-depressant Seroxat at the time – and this, combined with the alcohol he drank as he watched Marr play with his then band the Healers, lowered his inhibitions.

Then just 28, White went backstage after the gig to meet Marr – but when he saw an open stage entrance, and an unattended guitar, he made what his counsel said was a “spur of the moment decision”. He grabbed the guitar, left through a fire exit and took a taxi home.

Contacted in New Zealand where he is on tour with the Cribs – the young pretenders he now plays with - Marr was said to be “ecstatic” about the return of his vintage instrument.

The irony is that if White had only waited ten years, he could have entered The First Post’s competition to win a Gibson guitar. Click here for your own chance to get away scot-free with an axe Johnny Marr wouldn’t sniff at.

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