Nanny working for Duke of Wellington's son helped her boyfriend steal 30,000 of items from aristocrat's country home
Sarah Hallcup, 27, had been nanny to aristocrat's children for four yearsBurglary discovered when Lord Christopher Wellesley returned from breakTreasures including busts of the first Duke of Wellington had been takenPolice found Hallcup's boyfriend Neal Akhtar, 27, had stolen the goodsHallcup, Akhtar and their accomplice Scott Allaway, 27, await sentencing
17:48 GMT, 1 February 2013
17:48 GMT, 1 February 2013
Trusted nanny: Former nanny Sarah Hallcup, 27
A nanny employed by the youngest son of the Duke of Wellington was today convicted of helping her boyfriend burgle their country home.
Lord Christopher Wellesley and his wife Lady Emma Wellesley entrusted Sarah Hallcup, 27, with the keys to their rambling home during the four years she looked after their children.
But when the family returned from a four-week holiday in Scotland to find their home had been ransacked and treasures worth 30,000 stolen, police discovered Hallcup's boyfriend Neal Akhtar was the culprit.
Goods taken from the Wellesleys' Top Hill House in Heckfield, Hampshire, included busts of the first Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, a Cartier clock, a fob watch, paintings and rocking horses.
The raid was said to have left the couple, who have three children, 'very distressed'.
Prosecutor Edward Phillips told Winchester Crown Court that the small annexe where Hallcup lived had also been ransacked.
A bathroom window had been left open
at each property as a decoy, but officers grew suspicious because there
was no sign of disturbance, suggesting the burglar had not had to force
his way in.
later discovered the fingerprints of Hallcup's boyfriend Neal Akhtar,
27, in the house, and when they arrested him, officers found pictures of
goods stolen on his mobile phone and camera.
Contact had also been made to an antiques dealer about selling some of the goods.
Hallcup was arrested after she admitted being in a relationship with Akhtar.
The police found her phone had been
used to search for the value of a Cartier clock, and texts between her
and Akhtar involved talk of 'robbing the mansion'.
Prosecutor Mr Phillips added: 'Sarah Hallcup had the utmost trust of Lord and Lady Wellesley.
'They trusted her and they also trusted her with their property.
Ransacked: The court heard how treasures worth 30,000 had been taken from the Wellesleys' home
'In order for her to deny any involvement in the burglary, the prosecution would suggest it was staged to make it appear that the burglary had occurred on July 30 on the return of Lord Wellesley.
'It is clear that Neal Akhtar could not commit that burglary without the agreement of Sarah Hallcup.
'She alone had access to the house.'
Akhtar, from Reading, Berks, admitted burglary, and another man, Scott Allaway, 27, also from Reading, admitted handling stolen goods.
Allaway told police he went to the house to help Akhtar transport the stolen items.
Hallcup denied conspiracy to burgle between July 26 and July 30 last year but was today convicted by a jury.
'Distressed': Lord Christopher Wellesley
She was released on bail while Akhtar and Allaway were remanded in custody. All three defendants will be sentenced later this year.
Speaking after conviction, Edward Phillips, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said Hallcup had 'grossly breached' the trust of her employer.
He said: 'Sarah Hallcup grossly breached the trust that her employer had placed in her by conspiring with her boyfriend to burgle the home where she had been the nanny for four years.
'This burglary left Lord Wellesley and his family very distressed.
'Sarah Hallcup was someone they had trusted for many years to look after their three young children and their house.
'Yet she was complicit in stealing items from them, some of which she knew had a great sentimental value for their owners.'
He added: 'The prosecution case was that while Lord Wellesley was on four-week-holiday with his family she conspired with her recent boyfriend, Neal Akhtar, to burgle Top Hill House.
'As she was trusted, Lord Wellesley had given her the keys to his house that allowed her access to the house via the utility room.
'She had clear instructions to keep the keys in order to get access to the utilities in the kitchen and she was only authorised to leave the keys out for the Lord if he so requested.
'The jury at Winchester Crown Court heard how her boyfriend's fingerprints were found on Lord Wellesley's property.
'The telephone evidence made it clear that Hallcup had conspired with her boyfriend to burgle her employer.
'Lord Wellesley made the shocking discovery that a number of valuable items had been stolen when he came back from holiday.
'We would like to thank Lord Wellesley and the other witnesses in this case who gave statements and helped to secure these convictions.
'We hope now that Lord Wellesley and his family will be able to move on with their lives.'