'Robbers netted £1.4m in raids on the wealthy'

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The Independent Online

A gang of armed robbers pocketed a £1.4m fortune from targeting the wealthy during a five month reign of terror across London, a court heard.

Victims would be identified from their expensive cars in "trawling" exercises and followed home. As they opened their front doors, the masked raiders would pounce.

In one attack Professor George Kirya, the Ugandan High Commissioner, was knocked down and his Rolex watch ripped off in front of his daughter. In another, Lady Homa Alliance, who lost more than £1m of jewellery, was warned that for every lie "we will cut off a finger". Francis Sheridan, prosecuting, told Harrow Crown Court in London that the knife-wielding gang took every precaution to avoid detection, but telecoms experts were able to link the use of their mobiles to the areas where the robberies took place. Surveillance and video evidence will also be produced.

In the dock are Colin Mortley, of Chandlers Close, Bedfont, Middlesex; Paul Murray, of Ladbroke Grove, West London and Daniel Brown, of nearby Bevington Road. The three 24-year-olds deny one count of conspiracy to rob between May and October 2002.