When a homeless man's story about how a stray cat saved him from heroin addiction was turned into an award-winning film, he and the producer all smiled.
But now, weeks after Bob the Cat was fatally run over, owner James Bowen had a bitter argument with the man who immortalized him on the big screen – which could be played in court.
Producer Adam Rolston has privately accused the former street musician of "fraudulent" online fundraising over a failed attempt to raise £ 160,000 for a cat cafe that never opened and a "confusing" appeal for "£ 250,000" in donations for a "Memorial to Bob" was launched within hours of the cat's death.
Famous street cat named Bob's owner James Bowen, 41, is raising funds for a £ 250,000 memorial for the pictured cat who died after being hit by a car in June
He emailed Mr Bowen private messages as fan concern increased over his requests for cash – including another £ 10,000 fundraiser to pay for Mr Bowen's wedding to his Polish fiancée.
Mr.Bowen, 41, who says he is still mourning the cat that saved his life before books and movies about him paid for his £ 500,000 home in Carshalton, Surrey, has claimed in turn that Mr Rolston and others would have exploited him. Extraordinarily, Mr Bowen posted the allegations on his own Facebook page. In return, Mr Rolston has threatened to sue the former addict.
The first story of "Bob the Street Cat", then seven more, sold 8 million copies in 40 languages. "Bob saved my life," said Mr. Bowen. & # 39; It's that simple. & # 39;
Mr Rolston then turned the story into the hit film A Street Cat Named Bob, which won Best British Film at the 2017 National Film Awards in the UK.
But two months ago, 14-year-old Bob died and some fans were surprised that Mr. Bowen started new online fundraising calls a few hours later.
Award-winning film producer Adam Rolston (left), A Street Cat Named Bob, has privately accused Bowen of "fraudulently" raising funds for ringing "alarm bells".
Critics noted that the Daily Mail revealed four years ago that he raised £ 160,000 for a "cat café" that never opened, but donors did not receive any refunds.
Spokespeople said Mr Bowen was confused and the money eventually went to charities.
Then producer Rolston emailed him last week, “The fact is, the Cat Cafe was fraudulent. They were lucky there weren't any more serious consequences … To see the GoFundMe page pop up the next day after Bob's death, trying to raise the staggering £ 250,000, we naturally rang alarm bells. "
Mr. Bowen responded publicly by saying, "You have never done anything other than accuse and condemn me, humiliate and shame me about my problems with alcoholism and drug addiction, so that I won't eat crumbs from your banquet …"
Film: Still from award-winning A Street Cat Named Bob (2016) starring Luke Treadaway as James Bowen and his pet cat, who tells the true story of how a stray cat saved Bowen from his heroin addiction
As a result, producer Rolston warned, "If you keep going … you will face serious legal action."
Mr Bowen refused to comment last night, saying that his fundraising was inadequate.
Mr Rolston told the Mail, "James is understandably going through a very difficult time after the death of his closest friend, Bob, and followers, friends and colleagues are concerned for his well-being."
Mr. Bowen's appeal for "A Tribute to Streetcat Bob" had reached nearly £ 110,000 last night. His plea for £ 10,000 in wedding money last night reached £ 3,500.
In the movie: Luke Treadaway, left, as James Bowen in the 2016 movie, and the real owner with producer Rolston and the late Bob
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