Jury out in £40m jewel robbery trial

The jury trying seven men over a £40 million armed raid on a jeweller's retired today to begin its deliberations.

Aman Kassaye, 24, and Craig Calderwood, 27, are accused of planning and executing the "high stakes" heist at Graff Diamonds in Mayfair, central London, last summer.



They used professional make-up artists to disguise their appearance and a series of getaway cars to escape across the capital, shooting at anybody who got in their way, Woolwich Crown Court in south east London was told.



Petra Ehnar, a shop assistant at the store in New Bond Street, told the jury of eight women and four men that she was "petrified" when the two men forced her to empty the store's display cabinets with a gun to her back.



She filled a bag with 43 pieces of jewellery including earrings, necklaces and watches worth a total of £40 million. One diamond necklace alone was valued at £3.5 million.



They told her she would be killed if she did not carry out their demands.



Kassaye and Calderwood both deny conspiracy to rob between August 3 and August 7 last year.



Kassaye, of no fixed address, additionally denies kidnap and possession of a handgun and sawn-off shotgun.



Calderwood, also of no fixed address, denies possessing a handgun and sawn-off shotgun.



Five other defendants deny the conspiracy charge.



Solomun Beyene, 25, of Lilestone Street, Marylebone, north west London, is accused of buying so-called dirty telephones and hiring a van used as one of the blocking vehicles.



Clinton Mogg, 43, of Westby Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, allegedly provided the London address used by an innocent make-up artist to make Kassaye and Calderwood look older than they were.



Courtney Lawrence, 31, of Ladbroke Grove, west London, is accused of being involved in the purchase of further mobile phones.



David Joseph, 23, of Flaxman Road, Loughborough Junction, south east London, allegedly used one of the blocking vehicles and his fingerprints were found on the false number plate used on the rear of the BMW getaway car.



Thomas Thomas, 45, of Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, south west London, is accused of hiring further blocking vehicles used by the gang.



Two other men - Gregory Jones, 30, of Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale, west London, and Benjamine McFarlane, 22, of Paveley Street, Marylebone, north west London - were cleared of the charge last month after Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC ruled they had no case to answer.

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

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'