Wednesday 17 July 2024
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Woman who helped plan £3.5 million Nottinghamshire jewellery heist sentenced

A woman who conspired with members of a violent criminal gang to steal millions of pounds worth of jewellery has finally been brought to justice.

Kelly Duong, aged 35, helped to plan an audacious raid at a Nottinghamshire art gallery by filming key parts of a reconnaissance video.

Under cover of a day out, she and partner Ashley Cumberpatch scoped entry and exit points at the Harley Gallery – the former home of the Portland Tiara.

Three men later smashed their way into the venue under cover of darkness, broke into a display case and made off with the diamond treasure and matching brooch.

The items, which have never been recovered, were valued at around £3.5million.

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The raid, on 20 November 2018, was later linked to a series of vicious tie-up burglaries targeting footballers and other wealthy individuals in Nottinghamshire and Surrey.

Gang members Cumberpatch, Kurtis Dilks and Andrew MacDonald were jailed in July 2022 for a total of more than 100 years after being hunted down by Nottinghamshire Police.

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Duong, of Francis Street, Nottingham, was not part of the original trial but later pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit burglary at the Harley Gallery.

Appearing at Nottingham Crown Court today (22 February) she was handed a two-year prison sentence suspended for 21 months.

Detective Constable John Wilson, of Nottinghamshire Police, said:

“As we maintained all along, Duong knew exactly what she was doing when she visited this location under the guise of a day out.

“Whilst other visitors were admiring the many paintings and other treasures on display, she and Cumberpatch were callously planning a multi-million-pound heist that robbed future generations of a genuine national treasure.

“I am pleased she has now admitted to her part in this crime and that the final loose end in this multi-year investigation has now been resolved.

“Duong could not be mentioned during the earlier trial so I am pleased her involvement in this brazen crime can now be reported.”

The recconnaisance

The damming Go Pro footage, filmed in 2017 and later discovered by detectives, shows the pair feigning appreciation for the various treasures on display, before stopping to the look closely at a cabinet housing the Portland Tiara.

A second piece of footage, filmed by Duong, examined the route the gang would take to the scene, paying particular attention the large exterior windows the gang would later break through.

Duong can also be heard taking instruction from Cumberpatch, and feigning an interest in nearby sheep so “it looks like I’m’ filming everything”.

The raid

In the early hours of 20 November 2018 three men arrived at the venue by driving a stolen car through an adjoining field.

After climbing a small fence recorded in the footage, the men then smashed their way through the large windows Duong had filmed nearly a year before.

Just minutes later they left the way they came and drove off with the loot.

The Tiara has never been found and is thought to have been broken up after being taken to Istanbul.

The investigation

A small CID team at Nottinghamshire Police quickly identified Cumberpatch – a career criminal well known to officers – as a suspect.

He and other gang members were later linked by their mobile phone activities to a pair of crooked jewellers working out of a shop in London’s Hatton Gardens.

When they raided the shop, Paris Jewells, to look for evidence, officers found a plastic bag containing a stash of jewellery and an FA Cup runners-up medal stolen the day before from the home of another professional footballer.

Working backwards, they were then able to link the shop and the gang to several other violet break-ins in which victims were tied up and assaulted in their own homes.

The reckoning

Dilks, aged 36, of Whitegate Vale, Clifton, was jailed for a total of 35 years. His DNA was found on a knife and a cable tie used to restrain one of the burglary victims and was found guilty of three counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, four counts of converting criminal property, three counts of conspiracy to commit robbery, and two counts of robbery.

Cumberpatch, 38, previously of First Avenue, Carlton, was convicted of three counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, five counts of converting criminal property, and three counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was jailed for a total of 29 years.

MacDonald, 43, of no fixed address, was found guilty of three counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, five counts of converting criminal property, and three counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was jailed for a total of 32 years.

Tevfik Guccuk, 43, of Houndsden Road, Southgate, London, was found guilty of five counts of converting criminal property. He was jailed for seven years.

Sercan Evsin, 28, of Meadow Close, in Barnet, was convicted of four counts of converting criminal property. He was jailed for five years.

Christopher Yorke, 52, of Rose Ash Lane, Top Valley, was convicted of one count of converting criminal property. He was handed a 12 month sentence suspended for 24 months.

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