Victims said to include Bernie Ecclestone & BAA chairman Nigel Rudd.
Three gang members have been jailed for a five-month spree of high value jewellery thefts in West London, relieving victims of luxury jewels thought to be worth £2 million.
The violent thieves, dubbed the “millionaire gang”, stole jewellery from lone women or couples returning from nights out. Their victims are thought to include Bernie Ecclestone and BAA chairman Sir Nigel Rudd and his wife. The gang stole fine jewellery including a £75,000 diamond ring from one victim and a £25,000 Graff ring from another.
Nicholas Lewis, 34 of Romford, was sentenced to 20 years in jail for the robberies, while the gang’s ringleader Gulam Gani of White City, and accomplice Sean Wallace of Holland Park, were found guilty and were sentenced to 18 and 15 years in jail, respectively.
The gang is thought to have begun its spate of vicious robberies in May 2011, when a woman was grabbed from behind and £50,000 worth of jewellery was taken from her, including a diamond pendant necklace, a Cartier Cougar watch and a Graff diamond ring valued at £25,000.
At least two other thefts followed before they targeted a couple who had just arrived home, bursting through their front door behind them and holding them at knifepoint.
They fled with £84,000 worth of jewellery including a £10,000 Cartier watch, a diamond ring valued at £20,000, pearls worth £12,000, diamond earrings worth at £20,000, a Cartier necklace, a Rolex watch valued at £12,000 and a £1,000 Chanel handbag.
They were eventually caught when one victim, a 53-year-old woman, managed to scratch Lewis during a violent tussle for her £75,000 diamond ring. The gang threatened to cut off her finger before managing to prize it from the victim and running away, but DNA retrieved from the victim was directly linked to Lewis.
Detective Superintendent Neil Thompson of the London Crime Squad, said: "The gang preyed mostly on lone women as they made their way home and stole an array of items of significant importance and sentimental value.
"Not only did they steal these items but on a number of occasions they callously attacked their victims on their own doorsteps. The gang showed no remorse and disregarded the impact these robberies would have on their victims."