Leonardo painting plot accused cleared
Five men were today cleared of being part of a plot to extort £4.25 million for the return of a stolen Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece.
Charges against solicitor Marshall Ronald, 53, of Skelmersdale, Lancashire and private investigators Robert Graham, 57, and John Doyle, 61, both of Ormskirk, Lancashire, were found not proven at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Glasgow-based solicitors Calum Jones, 45, and David Boyce, 63, were found not guilty of trying to extort the money for the return of the Madonna Of The Yarnwinder.
A jury at the High Court, where the trial was in its eighth week, took eight hours over two days to clear the men.
The £20 million painting was stolen by axe-wielding robbers from Drumlanrig Castle, on the Dumfries-shire estate of the Duke of Buccleuch, in August 2003.
It was seized by police in October 2007 following a swoop on a meeting at a lawyers' office in Glasgow.
The five men were not accused of the robbery.
There was silence in the courtroom as the verdicts were delivered one by one for each of the five accused.
They left the dock following the short hearing after judge Lady Dorrian told them: "In view of the verdict of the jury, you are discharged and free to go."
Speaking outside court, Ronald said: "It's just quite overwhelming.
"I just want to thank my lawyers for the hard work they've put into this case. I can't thank them enough for what they've done.
"It's been a long hard road and a very difficult case."
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'