Violent Robberies Against Mothers Wearing Diamond Rings

Women suffered strangulation and suffocation in front of children

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Three men who committed a series of violent robberies against mothers wearing diamond rings in south west London have today (6th September) been sentenced at Kingston Crown Court.

Anton Lord, aged 33, unemployed of Croydon was arrested and charged on 8 September 2011 with conspiracy to commit robbery from 1 January 2007 to 17 March 2011. He was sentenced to eight and a half years with four years extended license for public protection.

Christopher Byom, aged 28, unemployed of Battersea was arrested and charged on 12 September 2011 with conspiracy to commit robbery from 1 January 2007 to 17 March 2011. He received 21 years imprisonment with an additional extended license period of four years for public protection.

Perrie Williams, aged 26, unemployed of Wandsworth Common West Side, SW18 was arrested and charged on 7 September 2011 with conspiracy to commit robbery from 1 January 2007 to 17 March 2011. He was given 17 years on both counts, to run concurrently and an additional four years extended license for public protection.

All stood trial at Kingston Crown Court on 31 April 2012. Detectives investigating the case described the gang as one of the most dangerous to have operated within London in recent years. The conspiracy concerned a number of professionally planned robberies which mainly targeted mothers who wore diamond engagement rings.

Most of the women were with young children in pushchairs at the time of the offences. The majority of attacks took place in South West London and were committed between October 2010 and March 2011.

In total eight women were attacked in this series of robberies and all were subjected to the same method of being held in a strangulation hold and forced to the ground. Once on the ground the men would suffocate the women until they had taken all of their jewellery. All of this happened in front of the young children who were terrified.

All the victims suffered severe strangulation injuries, many passed out during attacks, one woman needed reconstructive surgery to her jaw. During the investigation detectives discovered that the gang would sell the stolen jewellery in the Hatton Garden diamond markets and take themselves and their girlfriends on shopping sprees.

After they were convicted, two of the men admitted to carrying out a series of other violent robberies and armed robberies across London over a ten year period. Anton Lord admitted that he had committed unarmed steaming style robberies targeting Betting Shops and Post Office premises between 1998 to 2001. He also admitted that he had been involved in very similar offences to the ones outlined above. He stated that in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 he was concerned in professionally planned jewellery robberies targeting lone women throughout London.

These robberies were "follow off" offences whereby offenders travelled out together to identify females wearing high value diamond jewellery. Those females were then followed and attacked if they walked to our parked in a quiet area where the robbers felt they could complete a robbery successfully. These robberies were committed with the threat of either an imitation handgun or knife used to threaten terrified victims.

In addition he admitted other less serious residential burglaries and phone snatches over his period of criminality. After conviction Christopher Byom was further arrested and admitted participating in criminality dating back over a decade. The admitted criminality centred on his prolific activities as a residential burglar and phone snatcher who targeted premises throughout South West London and commuters using South West London rail and tube stations, repeatedly over an extended period.

These admitted crimes were submitted to the court to be taken into consideration by the Judge upon sentencing. DC Dan Williams of Wandsworth Robbery Squad said: "The high level of premeditated violence used against lone women over such a period was disgraceful. These men were ruthless and presented a very real and persistent danger to women.

"Sentences of this nature are a powerful deterrent to others who seek to engage in this type of violent crime.

"The courage and determination of the victims of these crimes and members of the community who gave evidence has been commendable. We all hope this result has assisted with their recovery knowing their assailants have been brought to justice."

September 7, 2012