October 25 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Two wealthy women described how they are still haunted by memories of being attacked and robbed by masked muggers just yards from their homes, a court heard.
Elizabeth Kaye, of Temple Fortune Lane in Hampstead Garden Suburb, and Jennifer Boschetto, of Heath Drive in Hampstead, were both bundled to the ground and stripped of thousands of pounds worth of jewellery in May last year, Southwark Crown Court heard last Wednesday (November 21).
The pair are said to be among five victims of a gang of robbers behind a string of violent muggings targeting wealthy individuals.
Other victims include Sir Nigel Rudd, chairman of airports operator BAA, who was robbed at knife-point outside his £7million home in Belgravia.
Prosecutors say Gulam Gani, 47, Nicholas Lewis, 34, and Shaun Wallace, 30, cruised London’s most exclusive neighbourhoods in stolen high-end cars with false number plates looking for lone women and elderly people to rob.
They stole rings, watches, and necklaces worth £242,000, including one ring worth £75,000, before selling the stolen property to Hatton Garden jeweller Radcliffe Benjemin, 55, jurors heard.
Mrs Kaye, a banker, said she still has nightmares after the attack in May last year when she was grabbed by the throat and tackled to the ground.
Masked attackers snatched her £25,000 diamond ring, a Cartier Cougar watch, a £5,000 pair of diamond earrings – which belonged to her mother – and a Louis Vuitton handbag.
Giving evidence from behind a screen, she said: “I do not know whether I passed out, I do not know what happened, but I was on the floor with a hand on my stomach, one round my throat and one on my mouth. They were trying to take off my bracelet on my right hand. They took my watch from my left hand. They took my necklace. They tried to pull it and I was trying to help them to undo it.
“They kept telling me to shut up. I did not want to get hurt.”
In the same month Mrs Boschetto, 59, was dragged to the floor as she keyed in the security code to her home.
Her finger was injured as a pair of masked muggers pulled off her wedding ring, her £3,460 diamond and sapphire encrusted engagement band and 18 carat white gold and diamond Chanel ring.
The robbers also took a pair of diamond earrings valued at £2,000.
Describing the attack, she said: “He (the attacker) said words to the effect, ‘Be quiet otherwise I will hurt you’.”
Gani, of Bentworth Road, White City, Lewis, of Balgores Lane, Romford, and Wallace of Barandon Walk, Latimer Road, deny one count of conspiracy to rob between May and July 2011.
Lewis denies committing a fifth robbery in late October 2011 when Barbara Walker had a £75,000 ring torn from her finger.
Benjemin, of Hainault Street, Ilford, denies two charges of conspiracy to handle stolen goods.
The trial continues.