|Henry: Pawned Violin|
A woman tried to pawn a stolen £175,000 violin snatched outside Brixton Underground Station, described as “like losing a child” by its classical musician owner, a court heard today.
The three hundred year-old instrument, owned by 56 year-old Krysia Osostowicz, was taken when she cycled off after unlocking her bike and left it behind.
Two days later Dawn Henry, 37, tried to pawn the violin, its £600 brown case and three bows worth a total of £24,500 at a Streatham Cash Converters.
She has pleaded not guilty at Inner London Crown Court to knowingly handling the stolen violin and fraud by false representation on July 28, last year.
In a statement Krysia, a professor at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama, told the jury: “I am a professional musician. It is my livelihood and vocation.
“Every violin has a different sound and personality and the owner of a violin becomes very close with the instrument and it is the only one I own.
“I have performed hundreds of concerts with this violin. It has been my personal companion for twenty-one years.
“Losing it was like losing a child and I blamed myself for leaving it. I was tired and it was a disastrous absent-minded moment.
“The practical implications were huge. I would have had to perform concerts with a borrowed instrument and it would have had an effect on my play.”
London-born Krysia was taught by legendary Yehudi Menuhin and the violin was manufactured in Venice in 1720 and can be heard on over thirty of her albums.
It was stolen as she travelled to her Herne Hill home after a Radio 3 performance.
Prosecutor Mr. Matthew Bainbridge told the court it was 7pm when Krysia began unlocking her bike outside the tube station.
“She was carrying a violin case and put it down to make it easier to unlock her bike and rode off.
“A few minutes later she realised she had left it behind and despite only being gone a few minutes when she returned the violin had been taken.
“It was her existence, her passion, her livelihood and was irreplaceable to her and the next day she visited local pawn brokers and asked them to keep an eye out for her violin.
“Two days later Dawn Henry tried to sell the violin at Cash Converters and the manager suspected it was the one he had been warned about.
“The case was locked and the defendant said the key was in her car, but came back a few minutes later and said she could not find it.”
The jury were shown CCTV footage of Henry outside the store chatting with an unidentified white male.
“The manager anticipated this was a stolen instrument and called Ms Osostowicz and she gave him permission to break open the case and he sent her pictures of it from her phone.
“The police were called and the defendant was arrested at the store,” added Mr. Bainbridge.
“She said she got it from someone called Paul and he asked her to sell it because he had just got out of prison and had no proof of address and told her she’d get some money.
“She said she did not steal the violin or know it had been stolen.”