December 8 2013 Latest news:
Jane Ball, News Editor
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
A Gidea Park man is said to be one of a gang of violent robbers who targeted London’s rich and elite, a court heard this week.
Prosecutors say Nicholas Lewis, 34, of Balgores Lane; Gulam Gani, 47, of White City, west London; and Shaun Wallace, 30, of Latimer Road, west London, cruised London’s most exclusive neighbourhoods in stolen high-end cars with false number plates looking for lone women and elderly people to rob.
A wealthy banker told how she was bundled to the floor by two masked robbers and stripped of £40,000 of jewellery just yards from her front door in Hampstead.
Elizabeth Kaye said she still suffers nightmares after the terrifying late night attack in May last year.
Mrs Kaye, a private banker, is said to be one of five victims of the alleged robbers.
Among those attacked were Sir Nigel Rudd, chairman of airports operator BAA, and his wife, both in their 60s, who were robbed at knifepoint at their £7million mansion.
They stole rings, watches, and necklaces worth £242,000, before selling the loot to corrupt Hatton Garden jeweller Radcliffe Benjemin, 55, jurors heard.
Mrs Kaye gave evidence from behind a screen about her ordeal in which her attackers took a £5,000 pair of diamond earrings, which belonged to her mother, a £25,000 diamond ring, and a Cartier Cougar watch.
Prosecutor Kenneth Millett told jurors: “This case relates to a series of strikingly similar robberies concentrating on a period in May 2011, with the other robberies occurring in late October 2011, where a group of men using stolen cloned cars toured central London, mainly in the evening, and targeted ostensibly wealthy individuals, lone women and the elderly.”
Sir Nigel and his wife lost jewellery worth £84,000 to the gang after Lady Rudd was pinned to the floor and Sir Nigel was threatened with a kitchen knife.
The robbers then sped away from the house in Belgravia, in a waiting silver BMW getaway car.
Lewis is alleged to have committed a fifth robbery in late October 2011 when Barbara Walker had a £75,000 ring torn from her finger.
Lewis, Gani and Wallace all deny one count of conspiracy to rob between May and July last year.
Lewis denies a further count of robbery said to have taken place on October 31, last year.
Benjemin, of Hainault Bridge Parade, Hainault Street, Ilford, denies two charges of conspiracy to handle stolen goods.
The trial continues.