Monday, 31 December 2012

Twelve Years For Gunman Caught By B.O.B Squad

A North London wannabe gangster – caught by police with guns and drugs – has been locked-up for twelve years.
Dean Richards, 30, (pictured) of Wycombe Road, Tottenham desperately tried to phone an associate, shouting: “Get rid of everything,” as officers moved in.
He was chased on March 25 by Operation Trident cops – who investigate violent black-on-black crime in the capital – from a property in Winchester Road, Edmonton to another in nearby Marlborough Road.
Richards was found hiding in the bathroom with the keys to the Winchester Road address.
Inside police found a two loaded self-loading pistols – one capable of automatic fire – two silencers, an empty magazine, ammunition and one smoke grenade.
Under the wardrobe was found a knife, scales and three seperate packages of heroin.
Detective Sergeant Paul Dempsey said: “This conviction is the result of the determination and commitment shown by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Trident North West Proactive Team.
“It demonstrates Trident's determination to bring those who are willing to indiscriminately use firearms to justice.

“I hope the sentence imposed gives a clear message to those members of the community who believe it is acceptable to carry and use firearms, and that it will reassure the communities of London of our ability to bring those involved in gun crime before the courts and in doing so encourage more people to report crime impacting on their community.”

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Bent Bookseller Caged For Forgeries

A bookseller, who forged the signatures of famous authors, including Sir Winston Churchill and TS Eliot, to falsely inflate the value of his stock has been jailed for ten months.
Allan Formhals, 66, (pictured) from Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire bought the books at car boot sales and second-hand shops and signed them himself – duping buyers all over the world.
He was convicted at Southampton Crown Court on eight counts of fraud and two counts of possessing articles for use in fraud.
The case was a success for the Met's Art and Antiques Unit, which began investigating Formhals in January 2011.
Officers were alerted to a number of Winston Churchill books and memorabilia, supposedly carrying Sir Winston's signature, being offered for sale in London.
Working closely with the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (ABA), they identified that the signatures were forgeries.

Formhals was arrested at home on February 3, 2011 and a large quantity of books were recovered, bearing forged signatures of a number of authors including Winston Churchill, TS Eliot, JRR Tolkien, Oscar Wilde, Aldous Huxley and Robert Louis Stevenson.
In addition, autograph books bearing thousands of 'practice' signatures were recovered, together with a calligraphy pen and ink.

The investigation revealed that Formhals had been purchasing large quantities of unsigned books for just a few pounds before selling them on 'signed', for several hundred pounds each.
He would offer a signed book for sale on E-bay before building up a relationship with the buyer and then continuing to sell large quantities of books and memorabilia to the unsuspecting victims.

One customer paid £10,000 to purchase approximately sixty-eight genuine Sir Winston Churchill items.
ABA's Pom Harrington provided essential evidence as an expert witness whom a victim had approached to check the authenticity of Churchill signatures in books he had bought from Formhals.

Detective Constable Ian Lawson, of the Met's Economic and Specialist Crime Unit, said: "This was a lucrative fraud in which Formhals purchased unsigned books for just a few pounds.
“Over an eighteen month period he released them onto the market bearing forged signatures and fake provenance, selling them at vastly increased prices.
“We have recovered more than one hundred items bearing forged signatures, but it is believed that many more have been released onto the market.
“We would ask dealers to be vigilant when trading in books signed by the authors listed above."

Formhals is subject to a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, where an application will be made to confiscate money which he has made from his criminal activities. 

Laurence Worms, President of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, said: "The tough sentence handed down to former Hampshire antiques dealer Allan Formhals represents a major breakthrough in the fight against internet auction fraud.
“Law enforcement agencies around the world have previously found it difficult to secure convictions in this field and the Art and Antiques Unit and the CPS are to be congratulated for obtaining a result which will make life very much more difficult for internet auction forgers in future. 

“We are pleased to say that the work and testimony of our own member, Pom Harrington, has been key to that success.
“The ABA will continue to work closely with the Art and Antiques Unit to publicise details of these forgeries, to remove them from the market and to ensure that collectors can continue to buy with confidence from reputable dealers."

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Fatal Hit And Run: People Carrier Sought

Police are hunting the driver of this vehicle – suspected of being involved in the tragic fatal hit-and-run of a young Brazilian dad.
Motorcyclist Christian Borges, 29, of Gladstone Park Gardens, Cricklewood died after the collision in Baring Street, Islington on November 29.
Engaged Mr. Borges was employed as a takeaway deliveryman and recently became a father to a baby boy.
Police were called at 6.00pm to reports of a motorcyclist in collision with a taxi and the other vehicle, which quickly left the location.
Mr. Borges was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination held on Monday December 3 at St. Pancras Mortuary gave the cause of death as a traumatic neck injury.

The vehicle that did not stop is described as a green people carrier.

Officers from the Road Death Investigation Unit at Northolt are leading the inquiry and
Detective Sergeant Chris Osborne of the unit said: "We are continuing to study a vast amount of CCTV, but it is clear it was a very busy time and there were a lot of people in the area at the time.

"We would urge those people to come forward with information no matter how trivial it is."

Anyone with information should call police on 020 8842 1817. 

Friday, 28 December 2012

Robbery Duo Behind Bars For Crime Blitz

A violent knife-wielding robber, who targetted seven stores on the edge of East London during a fifteen-day crime blitz, has been locked up for at least twelve years.
Ian Edwards, 45, ( picked on soft targets and was helped by his look-out and getaway driver Kenneth Westfield, 37, (pic.bottom), of Chantry Way, Rainham, who received six years.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Fareed Mirza, from The Flying Squad said: "Edwards and Westfield were engaged in a spate of violent robberies that impacted on local businesses and instilled a real sense of fear amongst members of the local community.
"Edwards is a violent career criminal. He showed no remorse and disregarded the impact his actions would have on the lives of his victims and their businesses.
“The conviction of these two men reaffirms the commitment of the Flying Squad to bring to justice men of violence and improve the safety in which businesses operate."

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Corner said: "This is an excellent example of work carried out by the Flying Squad in partnership with local borough officers, where linked cross border knife robberies at commercial premises was investigated.
“Officers from the Flying Squad supported the local investigation by bringing about the arrest and conviction of both suspects, ending an episode of violent offending."

The offences began on 23 April 2012 at 13.35hrs at Gayatri Newsagent, Broadway, Rainham.
Edwards went inside and approached the counter where the elderly female victim, a frail lady in her 70s, was working alone.

He forced his way behind the counter and grabbed hold of the victim around her wrist. He twisted her arm and dragged her violently across the floor while demanding she open the safe.
A customer entered the premises and Edwards told him to leave, threatening to stab the victim if he didn't.
As the victim screamed in fear the suspect produced a large kitchen knife with a blade of between eight and 12 inches, brandished it at her and made demands for money from the till. He stole about £400 before making off. 

DC Mirza said: "This was a particularly horrific robbery. There was no need for Edwards to use such excessive force on such a vulnerable victim.
“She suffered injuries to her arm, neck and back and was so traumatised by the robbery that she has never returned to work.

"Since the death of her husband, working in the shop gave her an opportunity to leave her house and interact with people. Sadly, following this robbery, she has become withdrawn and now seldom leaves her home."

On 30 April 2012, at 17:15hrs at Britcrown Pharmacy, Upminster Road, Hornchurch

Edwards approached the female victim working at the counter.
He pulled out a large knife and started shouting at her and the pharmacist, demanding money and threatening to stab them if they did not comply.
He stole money from the cash register and threatened to stab the victims if they followed him out of the shop.
Again, the threat of violence put the cashier in fear for her safety and left her shocked and distressed.

On 1st May 2012 at 18.29hrs at Lloyds Pharmacy, Tadworth Parade, Hornchurch Edwards forced his way behind the counter where the victim was serving.
He pulled out a large kitchen knife from his jacket and brandished it at the victim, demanding she open the till.
Terrified, she did as he asked. Edwards then complained there was not enough money in the till and threatened to stab her unless she opened the safe. 
He then left, warning the victim not to follow him, saying that he would stab her if she did.

On 3 May 2012 at 19:55hrs at Tesco, Bridge Road, Rainham
Edwards approached the tills and asked to speak to the manager.
The victim told him he was the duty manager at which point Edwards pulled out a knife from his jacket and pushed it against the victim's throat with such force that it left a bruise.
He threatened to kill the victim unless he opened up the till. He committed this robbery whilst the shop was trading with numerous other members of staff and public in the premises. The level of violence used left the victim shocked and traumatised.

On 6 May 2012 at 14:26hrs at Premier Stop Once Express, Suttons Lane, Hornchurch Edwards forced his way behind the counter where the victim was serving.
He produced a large kitchen knife and brandished it at the victim demanding that he open the till.
Edwards emptied the till of its contents and threatened to stab the victim if he followed him out of the shop. Kenneth Westfield was parked nearby as look-out and get-away driver.

On 7 May 2012 at 21.35 at Hainault Food & Wine, New North Road, Ilford
Edwards went inside and engaged in conversation with a cashier.
When the last remaining customer left the premises Edwards suddenly forced his way behind the counter and pulled out a large kitchen knife.
He started shouting at the staff and brandished the knife.
Other staff members heard the disturbance and ran out from a back room.
A struggle then ensued during which Edwards cut his hand and dropped the knife he had brought into the shop. It is believed he ran into a getaway car parked nearby.

On 8 May 2012 at 18.01hrs at Bows Chemist, Upminster Road North, Rainham Edwards forced his way behind the counter and into the dispensary.
He threatened the pharmacist with a large knife and demanded that the till be opened.
The victim was shaking and struggled to open the till; Edwards told him he had five seconds before he would get hurt.
When the till was opened, Edwards emptied the contents of the cash drawer into a carrier bag and fled. He ran into a waiting getaway car driven by Westfield.

The Flying Squad launched an operation to tackle the series of robberies and arrested Westfield on 8 May and Edwards two days later in Dagenham Heathway. 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Italian Restaurant 'Glassing': Do You Know These Thugs?

Police are trying to trace these two suspects after one have-a-go-hero was 'glassed' and his friend violently punched at an Italian restaurant in Central London.
A 32 year-old passer-by suffered serious facial injuries and his 52 year-old companion lost a tooth at Sergios, Great Titchfield Street, Marylebone in the early hours of November 10.
The victims were outside the restaurant with friends when they saw the two suspects attacking a waiter inside.
As they intervened the younger man was struck with a glass, which shattered in his face and his friend was punched in the mouth.
Police are looking to identify the people in the picture, who were dining at Sergios prior to the incident.
They are described as both being approximately 5ft11 in height, around 55 years of age and of heavy build.
One was wearing a white shirt and has short grey hair the other was wearing a dark shirt and has bald or thinning grey hair.
Both had a strong London accent

A third person, a woman aged approximately 40, around 5ft 6 tall with long blonde hair and wearing a dark top, was also dining with these two men, but she is not suspected of any involvement in the attack.
If anyone has any information in relation to who these persons are, or if they witnessed the incident, they are urged to contact DC Anna Petherbridge from the Westminster Serious Violence Team.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting crime reference 6561164/12.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

'Advance Fee' Fraudster's £788K Scam Smashed

An online conman, who convinced victims all over the world to pay him a total of £788,000 in 'advance fees' for non-existant windfalls, will be senenced in the new year.
Patrick Bomboi Emuh, 54, (pictured) of Bromhedge, Greenwich snared twenty victims in the UK, USA, Germany, Romania, Chile, Australia and New Zealand.
After emailing and cold-calling them Emuh convinced the people they had a lottery win or had received an inheritance and neded to pay fees, taxes and handling charges to release the funds.
He also posed as a lawyer to supposedly help the victims claim the money – for an additional fee.
Some of the victims from abroad were talked into travelling to the UK, where they were met by people posing as businessmen.
Several were shown banks notes they were told were theirs, but were contaminated.
The victims were instructed to pay money up front in order for the cash to be cleaned to "legitimise" it – another ruse to extract more money from them.

The total sum of money Emuh took from his victims was £788,297.

Police began investigating Emuh in 2006 after they found him carrying £10,000 cash.
They seized the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act and financial investigators examined his bank accounts.
They found large sums of money being deposited into his account and officers were able to identify and contact some of the payees, all of whom told the same story about Emuh.
Confronted with this evidence, Emuh told police he had a diesel oil business and the victims were customers in Nigeria.
This was untrue and despite claims that he could provide evidence to prove his story, Emuh never did.
He was convicted of 19 counts of acquiring criminal property and will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on January 8.
Police have already seized £60,000 cash from Emuh and are now applying for a confiscation order from which victims will be compensated.

Accredited financial investigator Doug Ferns, of the Specialist and Economic Crime Command said: "Emuh tricked people into believing they had struck it lucky and when he was caught out he had the audacity to claim that the victims were in fact business customers.
“A thorough investigation of his bank accounts, mobile phones and computer combined with the many witness statements allowed us to see right through his story.

"People like Emuh are driven by greed and because of the potential pay off of a con like this they will go to unbelievable lengths to convince their victim that it is genuine, as Emuh did. 

"If a stranger contacts you saying you have inherited money or won a lottery and must pay fees to access your windfall, do not believe it. Call the police."

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers - regular and new - a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

There are no news updates on this special day, there will be plenty of time for them in the coming months.

Instead we would like to convey our best wishes and thank you for your continued interest in this site over the last year

Hopefully we can maintain your interest in the coming months.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Gunman Caged Over £500 Loan Row

A gunman, who shot another man who refused to lend him £500 as they sat in a parked car, is starting a fourteen year prison sentence.
Iziah Smith, 23, (pictured) of Jenner Road, Stoke Newington was siting in the rear of the vehicle when he pulled the trigger – shooting the front passenger seat under the armpit.
He was convicted at the Old Bailey of inflicting grievous bodily harm, with intent, outside his home address on April 26 and also convicted of possession of a firearm, with intent to endanger life.
The victim and his girlfriend had driven to Smith's home believing he was interested in buying some clothes for a holiday to Jamaica.
However, the defendant began agressively demanding the loan from the girlfriend and when the victim intervened he was shot.
He was driven to Homerton Hospital by his girlfriend, and was later transferred to the Royal London Hospital as his injuries were deemed life-threatening.
The victim has now recovered physically from his injuries but is still traumatised by the incident.

Detective Constable Simon Ager of the Trident Gang Crime Command North East Team, said: "This significant sentence sends out a clear message about the grave consequences of carrying and using a weapon.
“This was a complex investigation and has successfully led to the imprisonment of a dangerous offender.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Top Student Jailed After Accidentally Shooting Himself

A one-time 'Student of the Year' - who shot himself in the leg as he played around with a loaded gun while high on cannabis - is starting a three-and-a-half year prison sentence.

Jakob Kakala, 18, who received the award from ex-Croydon mayor Avril Slipper while studying at Shirley Park's Oasis Academy told a tissue of lies to police in a bid to avoid prosecution.

"I believe you shot yourself with it and you also had expandable ammunition, which is an aggravating feature," Croydon Crown Court (pictured) Judge Shani Barnes told him on Friday.

First-time offender Kakala, of High Street, Croydon pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing a firearm, namely a .22 Brocock gas cartridge revolver and possessing expanding ammunition, namely three cartridges on October 11.

He sought treatment at Croydon University Hospital for the bullet wound and police found the weapon and ammunition when they searched his address.

"He is exceptionally disappointed in himself," said Miss Brenda Campbell, defending. "This is not a young man used to dealing with the youth offending team.

"These last months in Feltham have been extremely hard and his requests for his college work to be brought in have been refused.

"He has tried to keep his head down while in there. He is not a member of any gang and is determined not to be a beacon of disappointment, but a beacon of hope."

Judge Barnes told Kakala: "A great number of people hold you in high esteem and you have earned their respect and admiration.

"On the one hand we have a thoughtful, articulate, kind young man, a joy to have in school and on the other a young man spending an evening drinking and smoking cannabis.

"What a thing for a young man of your intelligence and abilities to be involved with, someone who has worked so tirelessly in the community to involve yourself in something so grave.

"You know have two of the most serious convictions that you can have and it will be a burden that you will have to carry and something that will make you have to try harder."

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Man Utd Away Fan Caught Hurling Seat

A Manchester United club member, who threw a seat towards stewards after his team scored during a nine-goal cup thriller, was fined yesterday.

Jobless Nicholas Garvey, 19, of Collingwood Street, Rochdale was caught on CCTV during the Capital One Cup fixture at Chelsea FC's Stamford Bridge stadium.

The ex-season ticket holder pleaded guilty at West London Magistrates' Court to throwing a missle onto a football playing area on October 31 and was fined £90, with £85 costs.

Chelsea beat Manchested United 4-3 after extra time.

Prosecutor Mr. Paul Mitchell told the court: “After Manchester United scored a goal a loose seat was thrown onto the pitch, near the stewards at pitchside.

“The defendant was identified by CCTV and he said: 'I did not rip it off, but I threw it'.”

The first-time offender told the court: “On that night I did the wrong thing by throwing the seat onto the pitch.

“I have let yhe club, the supporters, my family and myself down. It is one of the biggest regrets of my life.

“I try to go to away games when I can afford it and did go to most home games, but I got a letter from Man United asking me not to attend any home games and I have not been since.”

The police did not request a formal football banning order and Garvey was also ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Greedy Carer Looted Vulnerable Client's Account

Greed: So-called 'carer' Subhiraz Sohun

A carer, who emptied the bank account of his middle-aged Down's syndrome client, who also suffers advanced dementia, dodged prison yesterday for his "despicable" crime.

Subhiraz Chandra Sohun, 51, (pictured) of Clensham Lane, Sutton withdrew a total of £2,460 and was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service work.

"What worries me is taking advantage of a vulnerable human being when you have a duty to take care of them and not rob them," announced Croydon Crown Court Recorder Andrew McCooey.

"The nature of the offence is so offensive . The victim was probably not aware of the offence because of their medical condition, but that makes them even more vulnerable."

Father-of-three Sohun pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position between March 27 and April 27, when he used cashpoint machines to make a total of eleven withdrawals from the bank account of 57 year-old Michael Patterson.

The defendant and his wife were paid £2,500 per month under Sutton Council's Shared Living Scheme, which places vulnerable adults into carers homes.

Sohun - known as 'Joe' - banked a total of £35,000 in council payments alone, but greedily stole extra cash top-ups.

"Along with his wife the defendant was the carer of Mr. Patterson and was paid by social services to take care of him," said prosecutor Miss Katherine Selby.

"He had access to his bank accounts and had his PIN so he could buy Mr. Patterson items.

"It was only because Mr. Patterson's sister raised concerns about her brother's finances that there was a police investigation."

When quizzed by officers Sohun admitted withdrawing the cash.

"He said he and his wife needed the money to fund his sister-in-law's divorce in Mauritius and said he had the intention to pay the money back."

Sohun, now unemployed, repaid the money in two instalments.

"Despicable is the word that comes to mind when someone has the benefit of looking after very vulnerable people and abuses that trust," Recorder McCooey told the first-time offender.

"You were the entrusted friend and carer of this person, who looked to you for help, and you took advantage by stealing. It is appalling.

"You now have not just a conviction, but a very horrible conviction that will stain your character for the rest of your life.

"You are extremely lucky you are not going inside. I have just about been persuaded to pass a suspended sentence.

Look after your children, set a good example. They would probably be as disgusted as I am."

Sohun was also ordered to pay £340 costs.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

'Seat Rage' Commuter Loses Assault Appeal

A drunken financial advisor, who punched a fellow train passenger, leaving him permanently scarred after a 'seat rage' row, lost his £50,000 appeal today.

Angry Kevin Fowler, 46, ( picked-up and threw 39 year-old software account manager Adrian Farthing's laptop bag at him, prompting a confrontation on the late-night commuter service.

"It is always sad when two professional men wind up in an absurd dispute about a bag left on a seat in circumstances where it leads to violence," announced Croydon Crown Court Judge Timothy Stow QC.

"This was a ridiculous dispute. It should never have reached a point where there was physical contact.

"The defendant was positively drunk and was far more aggressive and we are quite satisfied he simply lost his temper when Mr. Farthing laughed at him.

"There is no way laughing mockingly can justify a physical attack.

"He punched him hard on the top of the head, forcing his face forward onto the tray in front of him."

Father-of-two Fowler, of Withdean Avenue, Goring-by-Sea, Worthing, who told the court he had spent £50,000 in legal fees fighting to clear his name, was previously convicted of assaulting Mr. Farthing on the London Bridge to Brighton service on August 4, last year.

When quizzed by police after a night in a cell he complained: "I'm a middle-aged, middle-class bloke standing up for the rights of rail travellers, who have a right to use a seat."

He sold his company after the conviction and is now employed as a management consultant.

"This gentleman came in, picked-up my laptop bag, and threw it at me," Mr. Farthing (pic.bottom) told the appeal. "An arrogant throw in my direction.

"He said he bought a ticket for the train and had every right to sit there.

"I asked him why he was being so vulgar and rude and he said: 'You'd better fucking shut up.'

"He was very slurred in his speech and appeared to be incredibly drunk.

"I had a laugh at him in a mocking way and I believe that inflamed him because the next thing that happened was that I received a blow to the top of my head.

"It was a very violent blow and forced my head down and I suffered a cut to my eye. I assume the cut was caused by the tray in front of me and it split the skin open an inch and a half.

"My coffee spilt all over my lap. At that point I was in a state of shock."

Mr. Farthing denied he was trying to protect his personal space on the crowded train by also pulling down the tray behind the seat next to him and placing his coffee on it.

The pair got off the train at East Croydon station and talked to police. "He was looking rather pleased with himself," said Mr. Farthing.

Fowler told the appeal he had approximately four to five pints after a training day in the City of London, but was not as drunk as witnesses described and claimed Mr. Farthing was the trouble-maker.

"He was condescending, patronising, sarcastic, passive aggressive," said Fowler. "He was playing games and he laughed at me."

Fowler admitted striking out in self-defence when Mr. Farthing made a sudden move towards him.

"I was just instinctively looking to protect myself. I was not looking for trouble, I was with colleagues and a long way from home, the last thing I needed was any hassle."

Fowler's sentence of a twelve month community order, including 200 hours community service work remains, along with an order to pay Mr. Farthing £1500 compensation and £550 magistrates' court costs and £500 appeal costs.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Snapper Caught With Sordid Images

A popular local award-winning wedding photographer confessed he had a fascination with underage girls when police raided his Mitcham home and seized twenty-six indecent videos and images.

Jeff Sham, 33, of New Road, who works all over London and the south-east had laptop downloads, which included adults having sex with girls under sixteen years-old, bondage and a child engaged in sexual activity with a dog.

He pleaded guilty to seven counts of making an indecent photograph of a child and possessing an indecent image of a child on or before May 22.

Sham is Surrey's only member of the professional Guild of Wedding Photographers.

Prosecutor Miss Shekinah Anson told Croydon Crown Court (pictured) twenty-two of the images were at level four; two at level three and and two at level five, the most extreme.

Officers executed a search warrant on May 22, seizing various items of computer equipment and media storage.

“He admitted entering chatrooms and said he had an interest in father daughter sex and engaged in role play,” explained Miss Anson today.

“He said while online in the chatrooms he was invited to visit and view other files and admitted downloading and saving some of them.”

The first-time offender was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, suspended for eighteen months, placed on a twelve-month probation order and was ordered to complete a sixty-day internet sex offender programme.

“It is a small number of images and there is no point sending him down for four weeks,” announced the Recorder of Croydon Warwick McKinnon. “He has got to sort himself out.”

The judge ordered police to return Sham's laptop, minus the indecent images.

“Even though he has this unfortunate trait it would be disproportionate for me to take away his life's work.”

Sham will have to sign the Sex Offenders Register for a period of seven years and was made subject to a Sexual Offenders Prevention Order restricting his physical and online contect with children.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Museum Expert Installed Secret Toilet Camera

A world-renowned paper conservation expert with the Victoria and Albert Museum installed a secret camera in a first-floor disabled toilet and kept a collection of women's clothes, wigs and make-up under his desk.

Michael Wheeler, 54, the award-winning Senior Paper Conservator at the V & A in Cromwell Road, South Kensington told police when interviewed: "I suffer from a sexual addiction. The recordings were for my own use."

Wheeler, who been at the museum for seventeen years and lectured all over the world, pleaded guilty on his first appearance to voyeurism on August 10 in that he installed equipment with intent to observe others doing a private act for his own sexual gratification.

He admitted a second voyeurism charge that on or before August 10 he recorded another person doing a private act for the purpose of his own sexual gratification.

Prosecutor Mr. Robert Simpson told West London Magistrates' Court yesterday: "On the first floor there is a disabled toilet used by both men and women.

"There was a lady using the facilities when she noticed a strange coat hook opposite the toilet bowl and alerted staff.

"It was a covert camera concealed within the hook."

The camera was examined and Wheeler was easily identified because he recorded himself.

"The defendant was recorded as the person putting it there at the time.

"It was explained to him that there would be a search of his workspace and Mr. Wheeler said: "The jiffy bag under my desk. That's all you need."

Another covert camera was inside the bag along with women's clothing, wigs, make-up and what Mr. Simpson described as "other items for sexual gratification."

The prosecutor added explained the defendant's memory stick were analysed.

"There were images of men and women using the lavatory. The one's of the men standing up are more explicit."

The magistrates bailed Wheeler for a pre sentence report to January 14 and the Chairwoman told him: "This is a very serious matter. It will be a hefty sentence one way or another.

"This is a very serious matter and there will be a substantial sentence for you."

Wheeler, who lives on a boat in South Dock Marina, Rope Street, Rotherhithe graduated from the University of Northumbria and specialises in Indian and Asian art on paper and architectural drawings.

He has lectured in Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Finland, India and Singapore and advised on projects in India and Egypt.

Wheeler was the head paper conservator at the Auckland City Art Gallery from 1987 and in 1990 was awarded the Andrew W Mellon fellowship at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He is also an accredited member of the Institute of Conservation since 2000 and is a member of the professional accredtation committee.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Knight's Mobility Scooter Nicked

A boozy opportunist thief broke into Sir William Arbuthnot's car outside his exlusive West London home, taking a mobility scooter from the back of the vehicle.

Jobless Zowie Andrews, 37, of Berenger Walk, World's End Estate, West Brompton also snatched £2.00 cash.

He pleaded guilty at West London Magistrates' Court today to theft from Sir William's vehicle in Cathcart Road, West Brompton (pictured) on October 26.

Prosecutor Mr. Robert Simpson told the court the victim noticed the scooter had been taken from his car and it was recovered undamaged a few streets away.

Andrews left a pair of sunglasses inside the car and police matched his DNA, which they had on file, to them.

“He said he was drunk and as he passed the vehicle he saw the scooter and thought it might be worth something,” explained Mr. Simpson. “He said he was drunk and apologised.”

Andrews told the court: “I was having difficulties in my personal life, got drunk, and stupidly entered the vehicle.

“Two days later I saw a sign that it was a mobility scooter and made every effort to put it back.

“I'm sorry. It was stupid.”

Andrews was told by the magistrates: “It is very unfortunate that you were drunk that day and took someone's mobility scooter.

“There is no excuse really.”

He was fined £65, with £30 costs and was ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Bungling Bank Fraud Blown

A nervous bank fraudster's clumsy attempt to loot an innocent customer's account of £4,800 alerted suspicious staff, who quickly raised the alarm.

Hove's Raymond Clark, 50, (pictured) made an appointment at a Bromley branch of Santander - giving notice that he was the account holder and wished to withdraw funds.

Croydon Crown Court heard Clark seemed nervous as he produced a driving licence and an American Express card as proof of identity.

Suspicious staff called the police and Clark tried to flee when he knew officers were on the way.

The defendant is currently on a community order imposed at Lewes Crown Court for drug-related offences.

He was placed on another twelve-month community order and told he must complete 100 hours of community service work.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Machete Man 'Flipped' And Slashed Houseguest

A machete-wielding New Addington man, high on a cocktail of booze and cocaine, who slashed a houseguest's hand and head during a violent row at his home, was spared prison yesterday.

Tarmacer Joseph March, 28, of Queen Elizabeth Drive “flipped” when a group of friends returned to his house after a drinking-session and started playing loud music.

“This was a completely horrifying incident and it must have been terrifying seeing someone brandishing this weapon with lots of people around,” Recorder Charles George QC told the first-time offender.

“Someone got slashed to the back of the head, which they needed stitiches for, and slashed to the hand, for which they also needed stitches.”

Father-of-two March pleaded guilty at Croydon Crown Court to maliciously wounding Jack Thomas, causing him grievous bodily harm, at the address on September 15.

Prosecutor Miss Sue Obeney told the court: “The victim had gone to the pub and was in the company of the defendant and others and went back to the defendant's house.

“Things seemed to be okay until the victim heard a commotion upstairs, where the defendant was arguing with the victim's cousin.”

March admitted drinking approximately twelve to fourteen pints of lager, three whiskeys and taking half a gramme of cocaine.

The woman March was arguing with, Shelley Travers, was his girlfriend's sister and she slapped him across the face before he reached under his bed and produced the two-foot long machete.

“The defedant was swinging it and Mr. Thomas got in the way to prevent injury to his cousin and the blade struck his hand.

“The defendant started to push him and Shelley out of the house and the blade then also slashed the victim's head.”

Witnesses told police bare-chested March also armed himself with a heavy-duty spanner and held a glass of beer in the other hand, which he smashed in the front garden.

Shelley dialled 999, but also found herself being taken away by police for slapping March across the face again after he had been arrested and was in their custody.

March told the officers: “I admit I cut him up with the machete. I chopped him, I feel no remourse, it was self-defence. I tried to kill the c***.”

After the attack Mr. Thomas suffered sleepless nights and told police: “I feared further reprisals.”

He needed five stitches to his hand and complains of occassional numbness to his thumb and received eight stitches to the back of his head.

“This is a row that has escalated between him and his girlfriend's sister,” said Mr. David Bacup, defending. “There was an issue with money and he was upset about music blaring out of his house.”

Recorder George QC told March: “You flipped and took from under your bed a formidable knife. Your aim was to get everyone out of your house.

“This was a dreadful incident and the court has been remarkably generous to you.”

March received twelve months imprisonment, suspended for two years, was ordered to complete 250 hours community service work, an anger management course, pay £500 compensation to Mr. Thomas and £100 costs.