By the end of the evening, Ms Melleny, wife of a billionaire Malaysian banker, Dato Samsudin Abu Hassan, had been relieved of pounds 1.5m of jewellery. She was knocked to the ground and robbed by three men as the couple returned to their holiday address in West London. Details of the couple's identity were released yesterday by a South African newspaper, the Johannesburg Sunday Times.
The mugging took place after they had watched two films at a cinema in Kensington High Street and taken a taxi to Paddington, where they stopped at a kebab shop early on Tuesday morning before walking the short distance to their home in Bayswater.
As they were about to enter the house, three men pounced on them and pushed them to the ground. One of the gang held a knife to Mr Hassan's throat, while Ms Melleny, in her late 20s, was ordered to hand over her jewellery. They then made off in a car.
The items taken were a pounds 600,000 diamond ring, a pounds 500,000 gold ring, pounds 350,000 diamond earrings and a pounds 20,000 18-carat gold Rolex: all gifts from Mr Hassan to his wife. The couple were not hurt.
Police, who are trying to establish whether they were followed home from the kebab shop, say that the couple considered London to be safer than their home city, and thus had no qualms about walking around with such expensive jewellery. One detective has said that it appeared to have been an opportunistic robbery, and that the muggers were probably surprised by the value of the property they took.
The couple are offering a pounds 10,000 reward for information leading to recovery of the jewellery, which they say is of sentimental value.Reuse content