Millionaire muggers: Gang who battered Bernie Ecclestone and stalked 40 of the super-rich at night in 2m terror spree face jail
Ecclestone was stripped of 200,000 of jewellery outside his Knightsbridge penthouse and given a black eyeThe raid at his home was one of four carried out Gulam Gani, 47, Nicholas Lewis, 34, and Shaun Wallace, 30BAA chairman Sir Nigel Rudd, 63, and his wife Lesley, 64, were attacked by masked raiders who stole 84,000-worth of jewelleryLady Rudd was pinned to the floor and stripped her of valuables while a knife was held to her husband's chestThe thieves were today sentenced to total of 53 years in jail
22:25 GMT, 12 December 2012
A gang of robbers dubbed the ‘Millionaire Muggers’ who stalked some of Britain’s richest people were starting jail sentences last night.
Detectives believe the trio raked in at least 2million in cash, designer watches and jewellery.
They claimed at least 40 victims after researching their movements online. Among them were Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone, former newspaper chairman Lord Stevens and BAA boss Sir Nigel Rudd.
Violent attack: F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone was left with a black eye after the thieves stole 200,000 of valuables from his home
Guilty: (From left) Gulam Gani, Nicholas Lewis and Shaun Wallace were sentenced to 53 years between them at court today for their involvement in four audacious robberies
Mr Ecclestone, 82, was seriously
injured after he was mugged of jewellery worth 200,000 in front of his
Brazilian girlfriend Fabiana Flosi in November 2010. He needed hospital
treatment after he was punched and kicked to the ground by the robbers,
who had waited outside his Knightsbridge home.
Gulam Gani, 47, Nicholas Lewis, 34,
and Shaun Wallace, 30, were convicted of conspiracy to rob after a
three-week trial at Southwark Crown Court.
Ringleader Gani, of White City, west
London, grinned as he was jailed for 18 years, father-of-three Lewis, of
Romford, Essex, was jailed for 20 years and Wallace, of west London,
received a 15-year term.
Hard-hitting: Ecclestone's injured face became the centrepiece of an advert for luxury Swiss watch Hublot, which was taken from him during the mugging
They were not prosecuted for the attack on Mr Ecclestone because of a lack of evidence.
They also escaped prosecution for
robbing Lord Stevens, former chairman of United Newspapers, by ambushing
him as he arrived at his Chelsea flat.
The gang drove around London’s West
End, Chelsea and Belgravia in stolen high-end cars with false plates
looking for lone women and wealthy elderly people to rob.
At one point they escaped from a car chase by ramming a stolen Mercedes through two police roadblocks.
Famous targets: BAA chairman Sir Nigel Rudd, left, and his wife were confronted at knifepoint at their house, while Mr Ecclestone, right, was targeted at his Knightsbridge penthouse
Exclusive areas: Sir Nigel and his wife were followed from a restaurant to their 7million home in Belgravia (stock image) while Mr Ecclestone was attacked at his Knightsbridge penthouse
They were finally tracked down after a
six-month multi-million pound surveillance operation, which collected
DNA evidence left at crimes and in vehicles.
Exonerated: Jewellery store owner Radcliffe Benjemin was found innocent of any involvement with the gang
Sir Nigel Rudd, 63, was ambushed on his doorstep after being followed home from a luxury restaurant.
He had a knife held to his stomach as his 64-year-old wife, Lesley, was forced to open a safe.
The gang made off with jewellery worth 84,000 and holiday luggage containing thousands of euros.
Bankers Elizabeth Kaye, Jennifer Boschetto and Rosemary Foyle were targeted after they were followed home.
Mrs Kaye, 46, was robbed of possessions worth 50,000, including a 25,000 diamond ring, after she was tailed from her office.
Days later the gang attacked Mrs Boschetto, 59, after she took a taxi home from a Mayfair restaurant.
Two men grabbed her from behind and ripped her wedding and engagement rings from her fingers.
They also took her earrings, necklace, bracelet and handbag – worth 12,000.
Her husband Ronald, 61, an investment
banker, said his wife, who is known by her middle name Linda, ‘still
bears the mental scars’ from the attack. He added: ‘She has undergone
hand reconstruction surgery and is set to have another operation. Linda
is now more wary when she goes out.
‘She looks around her and she always
asks the taxi driver to wait until she is in the front door before they
drive off.’ Mrs Foyle was followed home while driving her ‘ostentatious’
Bentley from an Indian restaurant in Chelsea.
Expensive taste: The gang have been dubbed the 'Rolex Robbers' after targeting wealthy home owners for their jewellery in the West End of London
She was robbed of valuables worth 21,000 as she took plants from the boot of her car outside her home.
Barbara Walker had a 75,000 ring
torn from her finger while she was walking along in October last year.
She managed to scratch the men and DNA taken from her nail clippings
identified one of the suspects.
The jury heard that Gani and Lewis had previously been jailed for similar violent robberies.
Sentencing the men, Judge Martin Beddoe said they were ‘hardened criminals’ who had not shown a ‘scintilla of remorse’.
He added: ‘I have no doubt, given the
opportunity, unless age or infirmity, you three will all probably carry
on doing this sort of thing again.’
Speaking after the case, Detective
Chief Inspector Lee Hill, of the London Crime Squad, said: ‘Some of
their victims have yet to get over what happened to them. I have no
doubt they were responsible for many more crimes.’