Bazaar tale of King Pepi and the Egyptian souvenirs

`We painted them up. You ended with a piece that looked as if it came from a bazaar'

A leading antiques restorer smuggled stolen tomb relics out of Egypt by painting them to look like cheap bazaar souvenirs, even marking one with the word "Egypt", a court was told yesterday.

Once back in England, Jonathan Tokeley-Parry, known as "Jonty", cut up and repainted the relics so they could be resold without trace, it was said at Knightsbridge Crown Court in west London.

On the first day of the trial, members of the jury were told that Mr Tokeley-Parry said to Mark Perry, whom he commissioned to smuggle the pieces out of Egypt, that he was "doing the Egyptians a favour" by restoring them to their former glory. Earlier, they were shown photographs of Mr Tokeley-Parry and an Egyptian accomplice sawing up a false door from the tomb of Hetepka, before the sections were resold.

Mr Tokeley-Parry has pleaded not guilty to three counts of handling stolen goods, including artefacts from the pyramid tombs of Hetepka and King Pepi and a bronze figure of the Egyptian god Horus.

Paul Dodgson, for the prosecution, told the jury that the careful disguising of the well-documented valuables once they were in England was essential if they were to be resold undetected.

"If you can mislead the prospective purchasers on where it came from, then you can also avoid the conclusion that the object was stolen after 1983," he said. This was the date on which the exports of Egyptian relics were banned under law.

The court was told that Mark Perry, an odd-job man, was introduced to Mr Tokeley-Parry in 1992 by a mutual friend. With one child and another on the way, Mr Perry said he was keen to earn extra money.

"He [Mr Tokeley-Parry] asked if I would be interested in doing a bit of smuggling. I wasn't interested at the time," Mr Perry said. "He said it wasn't drugs, it was antiquities. I was all right with that."

Mr Perry told the court that Mr Tokeley-Parry, who was said to have already attempted to recruit someone else, agreed to pay him pounds 500 a trip to an as yet unnamed destination. "I was over the moon. It was nearly the same as I was earning in a month," he said.

Mr Perry, who had done very little travelling, said he assumed that "smuggling" meant that he would be breaking minor export laws. "I spoke to Jonathan Tokeley-Parry the next day. I think I said something daft like `I'm in.' He laughed ... he said "I knew you would'."

Mr Perry said he was given a black Samsonite suitcase with combination locks, which Mr Tokeley-Parry told him were best for security, and told to buy some new clothes, for which he was given a loan.

The first trip, he was to be accompanied by Mr Tokeley-Parry. "I thought if he's coming with me it can't be that difficult," Mr Perry said.

He said that when they arrived at the Windsor Hotel in Cairo in September 1992, Mr Tokeley-Parry checked himself in as Dr Johnson. He appeared to be well known to hotel staff. Soon after they arrived, Mr Perry said, Egyptian people brought antiquities to their hotel room, including figurines and a stone relief. He said Mr Tokeley-Parry showed him how to "paint them up".

"We first had some sort of liquid, B72. It hardened as you painted it on, I suppose to save damage." Afterwards, they would apply gold leaf and disguise distinguishing features by, for instance, painting hieroglyphics black. "You ended up with a piece that looked like something out of a bazaar," Mr Perry said.

On the journey home, some days later, Mr Tokeley-Parry told him that they should ignore each other and they sat in separate parts of the plane for the duration of the return flight. Mr Perry was told, if questioned by customs, to say he had bought the pieces at a bazaar.

The court was told that Mr Perry subsequently made a succession of trips for Mr Tokeley-Parry between 1992-93, collecting antiquities to be disguised and sold back in England.

Mr Dodgson said the fact that the goods were stolen in Egypt did not matter to this court. "There is no doubt that the items were stolen. They belonged to the state of Egypt and therefore they are stolen goods," he said.

The case, which is expected to last six weeks, continues today.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent