London

Graff jewellers robbery ringleaders 'may not be caught'

Items of jewellery stolen in the robbery
Image caption Staff were forced to hand over items of jewellery at gunpoint

The key players behind a £40m Mayfair jewellery heist are unlikely ever to be caught, a court has heard.

Defence counsel said the seven men in the dock at Woolwich Crown Court were not the brains behind the armed robbery at Graff Diamonds last year.

A total of seven people deny conspiring to rob the store on 6 August 2009.

Defending one of the accused, Craig Calderwood, 27, Ian Bourne QC, said "those who are in control of what is going on were "never caught".

Two of the defendants used professional make-up artists to disguise their appearance, and shot at anybody who tried to impede their escape from the jewellers, the court was told.

'On the run'

Mr Bourne said: "Those at the top, and those who are in control of what is going on, are able, you may think, to remain detached, are seldom seen and are never caught."

At least four people seen in a series of getaway cars, and a motorcyclist who was handed the jewels, remained on the run, he said.

The jury was shown footage of the moment a shot was fired in the street outside the shop as passers-by began to realise what was happening.

The seven defendants, who all deny conspiracy to rob, are:

Aman Kassaye, 24, of no fixed address; Craig Calderwood, 27, of no fixed address; Solomun Beyene, 25, of Lilestone Street, Marylebone, north-west London; Clinton Jamal Mogg, 42, of Westby Road, Bournemouth, Dorset; Courtney Lawrence, 31, of Ladbroke Grove, west London; David Joseph, 23, of Flaxman Road, Loughborough Junction, south-east London; Thomas Thomas, 45, of Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, south-west London.

Another two defendants, Benjamine McFarlane, 22, of Paveley Street, Marylebone, north-west London; and Gregory Jones, 30, of Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale, west London; were cleared in May after judge Jeffrey Pegden QC ruled they had no case to answer.

The trial continues.

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