December 12 2013 Latest news:
Jane Ball, News Editor
Thursday, December 13, 2012
A Gidea Park man and his gang, who made up to £2million targeting London’s superrich in a series of terrifying raids, were jailed for a total of 53 years this week.
The “Millionaire Muggers” followed the movements of high profile businesspeople and personalities on the internet before robbing them near their homes.
Nicholas Lewis, 34, of Balgores Lane; Gulam Gani, 47, of Bentworth Road, White City, west London; and Shaun Wallace, 30, of Barandon Walk, Latimer Road, west London, were convicted unanimously by a jury on Wednesday of four robberies in May last year.
Sir Nigel Rudd, 63, chairman of airports operator BAA and his wife Lady Lesley Rudd, 64, lost £84,000 of jewellery at knifepoint.
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone was stripped of £200,000 of jewellery outside his Knightsbridge penthouse, Southwark Crown Court was told.
The 82-year-old racing chief was left battered and bruised during the mugging which was witnessed by his girlfriend Fabiana Flosi.
Police believe they may have carried out up to 30 similar raids, following victims - mainly lone women - to their homes in Chelsea and Belgravia from exclusive restaurants.
Prosecutor Ken Millett told the court: “A group of men using stolen cloned cars toured central London, mainly in the evening, and targeted ostensibly wealthy individuals.”
Bankers Elizabeth Kaye, Jennifer Boschetto, and Rosemary Foyle, were robbed after they were tailed to their luxury homes.
Lewis was also found guilty today of a fifth robbery in October last year when Barbara Walker had a £75,000 ring torn from her finger.
The gang were arrested after a surveillance operation and DNA evidence from the stolen cars linked them to the robberies.
Radcliffe Benjemin, 55, owner of Hush Jewellers in Clerkenwell, north London, was cleared unanimously by the jury of fencing the stolen loot for the gang.
Judge Beddoe, who branded the trio “hardened criminals”, jailed Lewis for 20 years, Gani for 18 years, and Wallace, for 15 years.
They had all denied one count of conspiracy to rob between May and July last year.
Lewis, a father-of-three, and Gani both have past convictions for similar robberies, while Wallace also has a previous conviction for a 2002 robbery.