Farhi 'strangled until she blacked out', court told

Trial of brothers accused of doorstep attack on fashion designer begins

The fashion designer Nicole Farhi was strangled until she blacked out and threatened with a knife in a doorstep robbery, a court heard yesterday.

The French-born designer was attacked from behind in the driveway of her home in Hampstead, north-west London, in April last year.

Her assailants stole a ring, money and her Rolex watch – ignoring her pleas that the timepiece had sentimental value and choking her with such force that she lost consciousness for a few minutes.

Her husband, playwright Sir David Hare, chased the attackers and managed to take down their car registration number after the ordeal.

But Wood Green Crown Court was told she was only one of 18 victims targeted by two brothers who attacked women for their jewellery in prosperous parts of London.

Matthew Mykoo, 27, and his brother Daniel, 28, were a "strangler-robber" team, the prosecutor John Carmichael told the court, with Daniel Mykoo attacking from behind while Matthew Mykoo snatched the victim's valuables.

"Again and again you can see the same pattern," said Mr Carmichael. "Mr Daniel Mykoo attacks the woman from behind, puts his arm around their neck and pulls, as it were strangling them. They were obviously disabled, frightened but unable to resist.

"Shortly afterwards or at the same time, the Crown says, Matthew Mykoo would come in at the front."

It is alleged that Matthew Mykoo also violently robbed another two women without his brother, but all the attacks used a similar brutal method.

Many of the victims were grabbed with such force that they lost consciousness and feared that they would be raped or murdered, jurors heard. Mr Carmichael said Lisa Shortt, a domestic violence counsellor who was robbed on 13 March last year, managed to tell the pair how frightened she was as she had a hand clamped over her eyes and a tight grip constricting her neck.

Mr Carmichael said: "She was really distressed. She thought she was going to be murdered or sexually assaulted because of the violence of the attack."

Ms Shortt had rings that were worth £15,000 stolen from her.

It was claimed that in another robbery, when Matthew Mykoo had trouble removing rings from Sangeeta Mhaiskar's hands, his brother said "Take the finger off then".

Her wedding and engagement rings were eventually taken from her without further violence.

It is alleged that the Mykoos would stalk potentially wealthy victims before they attacked them. They struck in areas including Hampstead, St John's Wood, Ladbroke Grove and Chelsea between March and June last year, Mr Carmichael said.

While some victims were robbed of jewellery worth tens of thousands of pounds, others only had costume pieces taken.

Brigitta Gruber, a nanny, was attacked for earrings worth just £30. Jurors heard details of a string of violent robberies – in total 17 women and one man were attacked.

The prosecution argues that mobile phone records show that the Mykoos were together before and after many of the robberies and some witnesses said the attackers looked like brothers.

A stolen handbag was dumped near Matthew Mykoo's house and stolen cars with fake number plates linked to the robberies were parked nearby, the prosecution said.

Matthew Mykoo, from Brent, north London, denies 16 counts of robbery, but admitted a further two counts. He also denies a charge of taking a car without consent. It is alleged the brothers carried out 16 robberies together. Daniel Mykoo, 28, from Fulham, west London, has admitted to 16 counts of robbery.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'