Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Jury Decides !!!

Jury considers Leonardo da Vinci extortion case verdict

A jury has retired to consider its verdict in the case of five men accused of conspiring to extort £4.25m for the return of a Leonardo da Vinci painting.

The trial at the High Court in Edinburgh heard more than seven weeks of evidence.

The men are accused of seeking the funds for bringing back the stolen Madonna of the Yarnwinder.

All five of them have denied the offence which is alleged to have taken place between July and October 2007.

On trial are Marshall Ronald, 53, Robert Graham, 57, and John Doyle, 61, all from Lancashire, along with David Boyce, 63, of Lanarkshire and Calum Jones, 45, of Renfrewshire.

'Colourful tale'

They are accused of plotting to extort £4.25m for the return of the artwork, which was taken from the Duke of Buccleuch's Drumlanrig Estate north of Dumfries in 2003.

The men have not been accused of carrying out that raid.

During the trial the court heard details of an undercover police operation to recover the artwork.

Prosecutors praised their efforts, claiming the officers involved had "turned the tables" on the accused.

They said a video the men had produced showing the valuable painting alongside a copy of a newspaper was a "hallmark of kidnapping and extortion".

Those claims were dismissed by lawyers representing the accused.

They described the assertion that their clients were involved in a conspiracy as a "colourful tale" and a "mad idea" which was "wholly incredible".

Trial of men accused of extortion over stolen Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece retires

THE jury in the trial of five men accused of being part of a £4.25million extortion plot in connection with a stolen Leonardo da Vinci painting retired to consider their verdict today.

Judge Lady Dorrian completed her legal directions to the 15 men and women at the High Court in Edinburgh this morning.

She told them to consider the case against each of the accused separately and said they should not be swayed by emotion or sympathy for anyone involved in the trial.

Marshall Ronald, 53, a solicitor, of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, Robert Graham, 57 and John Doyle, 61, both of Ormskirk, Lancashire, and Glasgow-based solicitors Calum Jones, 45, and David Boyce, 63, are accused of conspiring in 2007 to extort the money for the return of the Madonna Of The Yarnwinder.

The £20million masterpiece was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle, on the Dumfries-shire estate of the Duke of Buccleuch, in August 2003.

It was taken into police custody in October 2007 following a swoop on a meeting at a lawyers' office in Glasgow.

The five accused deny the charges against them. They are not accused of the robbery.

The trial is now in its eighth week.

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