Friday, April 30, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Johnson's Defiant As They Send out "Fuck You" Message !!!


Johnsons crime clan ordered by judge to pay back just £1 from £30m raids


MEMBERS of the notorious Johnsons gang which stole £30 million of antiques from stately homes will have to pay back just £1 of their haul.

The nominal repayment for Richard 'Chad' Johnson and Albi Johnson was fixed after a judge found they had squandered the cash they made from selling the property.

Their father Ricky was told he need not repay anything because, in the court's view, he had not benefited from the raids.

Ricky's nephew Danny O'Loughlin was told he must hand over £113,200 within six months or face an additional 25 months in prison at the end of his 11-year sentence. Final gang member Michael Nicholls has to pay back £178, which the court heard was all the assets he had.

Yesterday, the travellers, who lived at Cleeve Prior Traveller's Site, in Evesham, and have strong family links to Cheltenham, stood before Judge Critchlow at Reading Crown Court for the conclusion of a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

After listening intently to his ruling, they gave a thumbs up from the dock and one of the family called out "It's better than a not guilty verdict".

The judge ordered the family to pay back the small sums because they did not have the means to pay more.

They could be required to pay back the larger sum in future if they ever amass a fortune. He said only 34-year-old O'Loughlin had made any realisable benefit from the raids.

The five-strong gang were convicted two years ago of stealing valuable silver, clocks, porcelain and china from some of the finest homes in the country.

Their biggest haul of £23 million was from 17th century Ramsbury Manor in Wiltshire, 2006, and their sentences ranged from eight to 11 years. Other raids during the same period included those on Warneford Place, in Swindon, and The Manor, in Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire.

Police estimated the value of the thefts to be £30 million, but an independent valuation expert said this was because collectors often pay well over the odds. The figure he gave the court was £7 million, £4 million of which remains unrecovered.

After the lengthy and detailed confiscation hearing this week, it was deemed O'Loughlin had made £1,229,748,

Richard Johnson, 34, had made £135,768, Nicholls, 30, had made £155,978, Albi Johnson, 27, had made £25,602 and 55-year-old Ricky had not benefited.

The gang had argued they made just £15,200 each from the raid at Ramsbury Manor, but the judge said he found it "improbable" that O'Loughlin did not have further antiques stashed away.

In what is thought to be a criminal first, O'Loughlin had arranged for £643,000 of the items to be returned while he was behind bars in a bid to persuade the judge to be lenient.

Among the items stolen were a Thomas Tompion clock dating from 1675 and worth £240,000 and a Daniel Delander barometer worth £650,000.

Police found £2.3 million of the haul stuffed in a 10ft deep underground bunker – dubbed an Aladdin's Cave – on the outskirts of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Simon Burns, prosecuting, told the judge there was an "inescapable inference" to be drawn that the notorious family still had more of the antiques.

"That which has been recovered is of enormous significance in a case like this," he said. "The question is, is that all of the items or are there more?

"There may be some sort of ownership or control over any of the bits and pieces which remain unrecovered. I ask your honour to consider that these were professional burglars who knew what they were taking and the value. They took 300 items from Ramsbury Manor."

The defence counsel argued the gang had limited means because they sold the stolen goods for knock-down prices and used the profits to fund their "hand-to-mouth existence".

Judge Critchlow said: "Others on the site would have been involved in some of these team burglaries. This team did not always act by itself.

"The total value of the property stolen should not be laid at the door of each defendant. I am not satisfied that each participated in each burglary."

He added that he was convinced that some of the items stolen from Rambsury Manor remained stashed away – despite O'Loughlin's efforts to return them.

Stately home raider must pay back £113k

A TRAVELLER who played a key role in a series of stately home raids must pay back £113,200 in six months or face a longer sentence.

Danny O'Loughlin was part of the five-strong Johnsons gang which ransacked several properties making off with an estimated £30 million.

After a confiscation hearing at Reading Crown Court, the 32-year-old was told he will face another 25 months inside if he doesn't pay up as the judge believes he knows where some of the stolen goods are hidden.

In August 2008, Richard "Chad" Johnson, 33, and Daniel O'Loughlin, 32, were both jailed for 11 years, Michael Nicholls, 29, was given 10 years, Albi Johnson, 25, was jailed for nine years and 54-year-old Ricky Johnson was jailed for eight years.

Ricky Johnson is the father of Richard and Albi, and uncle of O'Loughlin, while Nicholls was the partner of his daughter.

They were all found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary between 8 April 2005 and 13 October 2006, following a month-long trial at Reading Crown Court.

The gang members, based at a travellers' caravan park in Evesham but with strong links to Cheltenham, they had only made £15,200 from the raids


Less than 12 hours after Danny Boy
O'Loughlin get a 25 month increase in his jail sentence, this happens:

Dawn raiders steal antique jewellery in Gloucestershire smash and grab

http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/news/Dawn-raiders-steal-antique-jewellery-Gloucestershire-smash-grab/article-2094181-detail/article.html

Smash and grab raiders launched a daring raid on a collection of valuable antiques today.

A haul of antiques are understood to have been taken from The Old Chapel in Culver Street, Newent at around 4.10am this morning.

The raiders apparently ripped off the doors of the building using their vehicle before entering and raiding the premises.

An eye witness reported seeing two offenders carrying property from the Old Chapel and driving away into the centre of Newent in a dark estate car.

It is believed antique jewellery was stolen from the property and police are currently on the scene conducting their investigation.

Anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in the area or who has any information on the incident should call Gloucestershire Police on 0845 090 1234, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting incident 60 of April 30.

Art Hostage Comments:

The Antique Jewellery has been valued at, wait for it, £113,200 !!!!

Stolen Art Watch, Clear Message Sent, No, Deals, No More Recoveries, Mexican Stand-Off !!


Antiques gang leader's sentence increased by judge
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8652317.stm

A man who played a key role in a series of burglaries at stately homes across the UK has had his sentence increased.

Danny O'Loughlin, 32, who was part of a gang, will serve another 25 months as the judge believes he knows where some of the stolen goods are hidden.

Four members of the Johnson family, from Gloucestershire, and O'Loughlin -the partner of a family member, were jailed for up to 11 years in 2008.

Just over £6m of antiques were taken in 2006, half of which are still missing.

In August 2008 Richard "Chad" Johnson, 33, and Daniel O'Loughlin, 32, were both jailed for 11 years, Michael Nicholls, 29, was given 10 years, Albi Johnson, 25, was jailed for nine years and 54-year-old Ricky Johnson was jailed for eight years.

Ricky Johnson is the father of Richard and Albi, and uncle of O'Loughlin, while Nicholls was the partner of his daughter.

'Asset recovery'

They were all found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary between 8 April 2005 and 13 October 2006, following a month-long trial at Reading Crown Court.

Then, police said the gang based at a travellers' caravan park in Evesham, Worcestershire, had been operating in the south of England for 20 years.

They would stake out targeted properties, sometimes for weeks, and raids would last just minutes, with the balaclava-clad gang escaping in stolen cars.

The raid on Ramsbury Manor, the home of property tycoon Harry Hyams near Marlborough, Wiltshire, is thought to be the most valuable domestic burglary ever committed in the UK.

Increasing O'Loughlin's sentence on Thursday, Judge Christopher Crithclow said items like a £250,000 clock and a unique barometer worth £650,000, were lost to the black market.

But he said he believed £566,000 of goods were still out there somewhere and their whereabouts were known to the gang.

He originally sentenced O'Loughlin, who he described as "probably the gang leader", to an extra 42 months, but on intervention of his defence reduced it to 25 months.

Judge Crithclow also ordered O'Loughlin to pay back £113,000 within six months.

Of the other four men, Ricky Johnson's case was dismissed as the judge felt he did not actively take part in the burglary.

The three others have to pay back less than £200 in total as it was deemed they have no assets.

But all the men will be liable for life to have any money they come into seized, to pay off the cost of the UK's biggest private burglary.

Speaking outside court Det Supt Mark Warwick, of Thames Valley Police, said: "I'm pleased that these people and similar criminals will understand that we will go after you for your assets.

"The West Midlands force and their asset-recovery team have done a stupendous job making this happen."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Johnson's Juped, Will Extra Jail time Still Be Given ????


Johnsons gang made just £76k from multi-million pound raids
Wednesday, April 28, 2010, 08:00

THE notorious Johnsons gang stole £23 million of antiques in a series of raids on stately homes – but made just £76,000 from selling them, a judge heard.

Now the five members have been warned if they don't pay up, they face longer jail terms.

Key player Daniel O'Loughlin is thought to have made legal history by arranging from his prison cell for 93 of the valuable items to be returned because he does not like being locked up.

The 34-year-old defendant told Judge Christopher Compston at Reading Crown Court: "If I had any other items I would give them back. I know what situation I am in and what use are antiques when I am in a prison cell?"

Referring to the rest of the gang, he said: "They are all in the same situation as me. We all want to get out of jail."

The extended family are facing a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act and will be jailed for longer periods than their original sentences if they cannot pay back the value of the stolen items or return the antiques themselves.

The judge heard the raiders, also including Ricky Johnson, 55, his sons Richard 'Chad' Johnson, 34, and Albi Johnson, 27, and Michael Nicholls, 31, stole at least £23 million of property from 17th century Ramsbury Manor, in Wiltshire, in 2006. They claim they made just £15,200 each selling their loot on the black market.

Ricky's nephew O'Loughlin described for the first time the details of the audacious burglary.

He told the court they stashed the wares from the empty property in a Jeep Cherokee and went back for more when they realised they had uncovered a treasure trove.

"I knew there was stuff worth taking, but I didn't know there was anything special," he said.

"I cut through a steel girder with disk cutters, drove through a couple of fields and then to the back of the house.

"There was a large window with a board underneath and I pushed that through. I climbed through and I saw a few things, grabbed them and I expected the alarm to sound, but it didn't."

The antiques were stashed in a barn before being moved to an underground bunker near Stratford-upon-Avon. The collection of silver, clocks, porcelain and china, belonging to collector Harry Hyams, were wrapped in straw and newspaper and stuffed into dustbins.

Among the items stolen, one of the biggest private collections in the world, were a Thomas Tompion clock dated 1675 and worth £240,000 and a Daniel Delander barometer worth £650,000.

The notorious family, who hail from Cheltenham, were jailed in 2008 after plaguing country homes across the South West of England for 20 years.

Ricky Johnson was sentenced to eight years, while Richard Johnson and O'Loughlin were jailed for 11 years each. Nicholls was given 10 years and Albi Johnson was jailed for nine years.

They plotted many of the high-value raids while based at a static caravan park near Evesham.

O'Loughlin's surrender of the stashed 93 items was thought to be the first time someone being pursued under the Proceeds of Crime Act has volunteered information from behind bars and returned items five years after they were stolen.

Simon Burns, prosecuting, told Judge Critchlow some of the stolen antiques were recovered from the Cleeve Prior Travellers' Site, where all five members of the gang lived. Of the 93 items, 42 were from Ramsbury, Warneford Place, in Swindon, and The Manor, in Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire. The gang say they cannot remember where the rest are.

An independent valuation expert had earlier valued the goods stolen from Ramsbury Manor at £6 million, with around £1 million of antiques taken from other raids.

About £3 million worth of the items have been recovered and police are now pursuing the gang for an outstanding £4 million.

Police had earlier estimated the overall value of the raids at £30 million because the owners often paid well above the market value for their items.

Proceeding

Art Hostage Comments:

It remains to be seen if extra jail time is still imposed by the Judge or the spectre of extra jail time is left hanging over for the next six months to allow further recoveries of stolen art and antiques ??

I wonder if the Lawyers insisted on a firm deal that would allow these items to be recovered and the prospect of extra jail time be lifted , or the defence lawyers just rolled over and allowed their clients to give the stolen art and antiques back and hope for the best from the prosecution and the judge.

Answers revealed soon.............

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Show Me The Money, Fuck You, Pay Me !!!!

Show Me The Money !!

Art Hostage is going to sit back and watch this initial Hornets nests explode.

By that, I mean watch how the Liverpudlian scouse anger will be vented on the Duke of Buccleuch, insurers etc.

First stop for Robbie Graham yesterday was Drumlanrig castle where he went yesterday to demand his reward.

With a BBC news crew in tow Robbie Graham was refused entry as the Duke of Buccleuch is donning his tin hat and battening down the hatches.

Insurers too, await the lawsuits.

Art Hostage read that Robbie Graham lost his wife in the last two years and I wanted to get this confirmed.

Why, well if you had seen Robbie Graham speaking after the verdict he looked like a heartbroken man and it is for that reason alone, let alone all the other moral reasons, Robbie Graham should be rewarded.

The fact Robbie Graham and Jack Doyle are working class guys from Liverpool should not mean they are dismissed out of hand. Remember the same working class guys from Liverpool fight today on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan and have been used as cannon fodder by the wealthy for centuries.

For every so called chav scouser there are hundreds, thousands of decent, educated, hard working, patriotic, honourable people from Liverpool.

Marshal Ronald, without this guy having the balls to withdraw the £350,000 belonging to the Tierney brothers the Da Vinci Madonna would never have been released.

It's all very well for people like Dalrymple and the Duke to turn a blind eye, hold their noses and pretend they disapprove, whilst salivating at the prospect for the return of the Da Vinci Madonna.

With Robbie Graham, Jack Doyle and yes Marshal Ronald, what you see is what you get.

The others hide behind a cloak of respectability which makes them dishonorable, to say the least.

Time for the Duke of Buccleuch and insurers to look big and pay up.

Trio cleared in extortion plot over Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece will not get any reward money for return of painting

Apr 23 2010 By Paul O'Hare

AN English lawyer and two private detectives who walked free from court after the Da Vinci extortion trial will not receive a penny of the £100,000 reward money.

Marshall Ronald, John Doyle and Robert Graham claimed they were entitled to payment after a jury found the case against them not proven.

But sources last night said loss adjusters acting on behalf of the Duke of Buccleuch will not pay the trio.

A police insider said: "In order for a reward to be paid, the insurance company required police assurances that the person or persons claiming the reward were in no way involved in any criminality.

"Ronald, Doyle and Graham acknowledged in court that they acquired the painting from criminals.

"It is therefore highly unlikely that they will get anything."

The men, along with Scottish lawyers David Boyce, 63, and Callum Jones, 45, were accused of hatching a plot to demand £4.25million from the duke to the Madonna Of The Yarnwinder back, which was stolen in 2003.

But, after an eight-week trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, all five were cleared.

Art Hostage Comments:

That's all very well Mark Dalrymple, but you took this line in the Fealden and Fairbrother case until Police relented just before the high court lawsuit was to be heard in the London High Court.

Both Fealden and Fairbrother got the three paintings from Acton from criminals. Rocky and Mick Lawrence got the Turners from criminals, Charlie Hill got the Titian from criminals and on and on.

This incessant cherry picking of who can be rewarded or paid a fee must not be restricted to ex-police officers who are allowed to circumnavigate the pitfalls.

You know several lawsuits are going to be issued, not least one from a corner not mentioned as yet.

'There are many ways to skin a cat'

............watch this space !!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Multi-Million £ Price To Be Paid For Rancid Prosecution !!!


Da Vinci Madonna, What Now ???

Art Hostage would like to start by addressing an issue that needs sorting straight away.

It concerns antiques dealer James Tierney, whose compensation money was used by Marshal Ronald to get the Da Vinci Madonna released.

That £350,000 has still not been covered by the Solicitors Insurance Fund, surprise surprise.

Therefore, the Duke of Buccleuch/Insurers should at the very least make payment of £350,000 to antiques dealer James Tierney as he is truly innocent in all of this mayhem.

I say mayhem because the words "Fan" and "shit" come to mind with regards lawsuits flying around.

Just because Jones and Boyce did not comment don't underestimate their desire to seek compensation.

Both Jack Doyle and Robbie Graham will also seek the reward or damages in a civil action no doubt.

Marshal Ronald will also, quite rightly, seek compensation via the courts.

As it was Art Hostage who started this whole Da Vinci Madonna recovery process in late 2006, it was also left to Art Hostage to clear up the mess caused by Mark Dalrymple and John Craig going off the "Art Hostage Message" and allowing themselves to be intoxicated by the perceived glamour of arrests in the "Art Hostage" Da Vinci Madonna recovery plan, which was given to S.O.C.A. and Mark Dalrymple in January 2007 at the Gatwick Airport Hilton Hotel.

As I write the Art Hostage Lawyers are collating all the Da Vinci Madonna files and recordings ready for the next phase.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Verdict


Marshal Ronald: Not proven majority verdict

Robbie Graham: Not proven majority verdict

Jack Doyle: Not proven majority verdict

Calum Jones: Not guilty

David Boyce: Not guilty

Two private investigators who recovered the UK's largest art theft, the priceless Da Vinci "Madonna", found not guilty
http://www.responsesource.com/releases/rel_display.php?relid=55692

* Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Now justice has prevailed will Jack Doyle and Robbie Graham receive the reward offered by undercover cop representative of Duke of Buccleuch and endorsed by legal team?

EDINBURGH, 21st April 2010. Today in the High Court of Edinburgh, a jury found two private investigators from Liverpool not guilty of conspiracy to extort money from the Duke of Buccleuch. In October 2007 Jack Doyle and Robbie Graham, returned Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece "The Madonna of the Yarnwinder", stolen in 2003 and the largest ever UK art theft, to an undercover police operative posing as an agent for the Duke of Buccleuch. They, alongside three solicitors, were subsequently arrested and charged with extortion.

“We are delighted that our peers have vindicated us” said Jack Doyle, “If we had been found guilty of these ridiculous charges no stolen art would ever come back again. What we did was to bring back a culturally significant masterpiece which is something neither the police nor the insurers could do. We brought it back, and have been put through two and a half years of hell since. If we had not recovered the Madonna she could possibly have ended up in Russia never to be seen again.”

“This trial should never have happened.” said Robbie Graham. “At every step of the way in bringing back this priceless painting we checked that what we were doing was legal. If it was dodgy then why did we get solicitors involved, offer to take the painting to a police station and agree to hand it over in the boardroom of a leading law firm? We asked three solicitors, and an undercover policeman posing as the agent of the Duke of Buccleuch, and they all said that it was legal. We were determined to save this painting and to do this good thing for history. We have made history”

In July 2007, Jack Doyle and Robbie Graham became aware of the possibility that the Leonardo Da Vinci painting "The Madonna of the Yarnwinder" dating from the early 1500s and believed to be the same model as "The Mona Lisa" could be returned. They then sought and were given assurances from three solicitors that the painting could be brought back legally, and they were told there was a £2 million pound reward for returning the painting. At all stages they were careful to follow the instructions given to them by the solicitors and the undercover agent John Craig and never at any stage did they put the painting at risk. Subsequent actions by the solicitor acting on their behalf were unknown to them until after the return of the painting, and beyond their control.

“I want to make one thing clear. We never asked for any money whatsoever. "continues Jack Doyle," We asked "Is this legal? And if so and we return the painting, is there a reward?" We were told that yes it was legal and yes, there was a reward of £2 million pounds for this painting which was offered to us by an undercover policeman (known to us as John Craig) acting as the agent for the Duke of Buccleuch and with the full knowledge of his superiors. We kept our side of the bargain. We now expect John Craig to keep his."

One thing apparent from this trial, apart from the fact the two continually sought reassurance from solicitors that what they were doing was legal, was that they were to receive public recognition for bringing this masterpiece back to its rightful owner, the Duke of Buccleuch. During the negotiations it was agreed that there would be a press call and a meeting at the Duke's castle, Drumlanrig, with the painting.

Robbie Graham says “We entered into this legal enterprise in order to publicise our business, StolenStuff Reunited. We thought if we can get a Leonardo Da Vinci painting back what a good advertisement it would have been for us! We would love to go the castle and meet the Duke, it would be an honour to meet him and to explain our side of the story, now that he knows that our intentions were totally honourable. He can call us any time. We would really value his recognition for the work we have done in returning a major part of his family's heritage."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Ashes to Ashes Wednesday !!!!


Jury considering da Vinci case sent home for night

The jury in the case of the men accused of conspiring to extort £4.25m for the return of a Leonardo da Vinci painting has been sent home for the night.

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

The five 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".

The jury will resume its deliberations on Wednesday morning.

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.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, MI5 Chief Jonathan Evans Has 350,000 Ghostly Reasons to be Less Than Cheerful !!!!



IRA ‘master terrorist’ defects to dissidents
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article7086937.ece

A notorious member of the IRA’s elite south Armagh brigade has defected to a dissident republican organisation in what security services regard as a worrying development.

Bernard McGinn, 52, a master bomber and gunman from Co Monaghan, is among a group of IRA hardliners who now support Oglaigh na hEireann, a splinter group that has carried out several high-profile bomb attacks in Northern Ireland, according to gardai.

They believe McGinn commands respect among the IRA rank and file, and may be able to recruit other disgruntled IRA members into the ranks of the dissidents. The IRA in south Armagh recently split and a number of members resigned. They are believed to be disenchanted with Sinn Fein’s policies and what they regard as the party’s abandonment of traditional republican values.

A close ally of Thomas “Slab” Murphy, the former IRA chief of staff, said McGinn was one of the IRA’s most deadly terrorists. His unit mounted scores of attacks against the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the British Army, murdering several soldiers with a sniper rifle.

It also organised bomb attacks, including the London bombings at Canary Wharf in 1996 and the Baltic Exchange in 1992. McGinn admitted responsibility for these while in custody, but retracted his admissions in court.

He was jailed in 1999 for a total of 490 years for three killings, conspiracy to murder, possession of firearms and his involvement in bombings. His convictions on the bombing and murder charges were quashed on a technicality in 2000, but the murder conspiracy and possession charges were upheld. The Special Criminal Court in Dublin had also sentenced him to 10 years for possession of explosives.

He was freed from the Maze prison in 2000, under the Good Friday agreement, and for a time remained faithful to the IRA leadership and Sinn Fein.

“From a propaganda point of view, when somebody with McGinn’s reputation aligns himself to a dissident group, it sends out a clear message that it’s a force to be reckoned with,” a security source said.

“Attracting somebody like McGinn is a coup for the dissidents.”

Art Hostage Comments:

O'h dear,.... o'h dear o'h dear !!!

Roman Polanski has a new film out staring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, about political intrigue, Govt double dealings, secrets galore.

What is it called ????

I kid you not: "The Ghost"

If there were to be an Official response from South Armagh, it may go something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5vsUwts5xk&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5vsUwts5xk&feature=related

Stolen Art Watch, Brighton Antiques Mafia Soldier Convicted of Theft !!


Bogus antiques dealer conned elderly woman

A dodgy antiques dealer talked his way into an elderly woman's home and stole her treasured jewellery.
Josephine Cutcliffe had a necklace and earrings set swiped by smooth-talking Lee Collins.

The jewellery had been handed down through the family from Mrs Cutcliffe's grandmother and she intended to pass it on to her grandchildren.

Collins is now facing a prison sentence after a jury at Portsmouth Crown Court found him guilty of theft.

Collins had called at the 88-year-old's home in Havelock Road, Warsash, unannounced, asking if she had any old books to give away.

Thinking he was from the local bookshop she invited him. Once inside he asked if she had any old jewellery.

Mrs Cutcliffe, who was in the army during the war, agreed to let him have some broken bits and pieces.

But when her back was turned Collins helped himself to the jewellery she had refused to sell. She has never got them back.

Mrs Cutcliffe said: 'I loved those things and I would never have sold them. Now they're gone.

'He was a very ordinary, respectable looking man but I can't believe how stupid I was, I feel a fool.

'The police said he was a low-life and I can think of some other words for him.'

Collins had advertised himself as Westdene Galleries, based in Sussex, and hired a company to provide him with a London telephone number.

In truth his outfit was a one-man band run from his home in Brighton, and he had previous convictions for theft and burglary.

In 2008 he stole a barometer from 79-year-old Jennifer Fennel after visiting her home, claiming to be an antiques dealer called Mr Roberts.

He was on bail for that offence when he stole from Mrs Cutcliffe in February last year.

Collins, 43, of Dyke Road Avenue, Brighton, had denied stealing the necklace and earrings, claiming the pensioner had sold them to him.

He said he had been an antiques dealer for 20 years and claimed Mrs Cutcliffe was confused.

'I may be elderly but I'm not confused,' she said.

'Having to go to court was hard.

'I felt like I was on trial and I couldn't believe what an ordeal it was but now I feel it was worthwhile.'

Releasing Collins on bail to be sentenced on April 30 Judge Peter Henry said: 'I make it clear that I want the probation service to look at all options and it may well be that there will be a custodial sentence as a result of this conviction.'

HISTORY OF OFFENDING

Judge Peter Henry took the step of allowing the jury to hear about one of Lee Collins' previous convictions.

They were told how he had stolen from Jennifer Fennel, 79, after claiming to be an antiques dealer called Mr Roberts.

But the jury did not find out until after the trial that Collins had also been convicted of four burglaries and two charges of making off without payment.

After the verdict PC Salena Bishop, from the Fareham and Gosport priority crime team, said: 'This victim was a vulnerable elderly lady.

She found giving evidence quite an ordeal and hopefully this will make it all worthwhile.'

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Lipstick on this Rancid Prosecution Can't Hide the Rancid Stench !!

Leonardo Da Vinci accused conspiracy claim

A court has heard claims a private investigator accused of holding a stolen Leonardo da Vinci to ransom was the victim of a conspiracy.

The High Court in Edinburgh was told Robert Graham had been deceived by both his lawyer and an undercover policeman.

Solicitor advocate John Keenan said his client had only ever believed he was acting within the law.

Mr Graham is one of five men who deny conspiring to extort £4.25m to bring back the Madonna of the Yarnwinder.

The painting was stolen from the Duke of Buccleuch's Drumlanrig Castle in 2003.

The jury at the extortion trial has been hearing the closing speech from Mr Keenan.

He reminded them that when Mr Graham came by information about how the painting might be acquired and returned he sought legal advice from his lawyer Marshall Ronald.

Mr Ronald, in turn, went to two Scottish lawyers.

That led eventually to him negotiating reward money with a man called John Craig who he believed to be an agent of the duke but who was actually an undercover policeman.

Mr Ronald kept Mr Graham in the dark about the detail of that, said Mr Keenan and, later, had actively deceived him.

Mr Keenan said Mr Ronald and the policeman had conspired to lie to his client by telling him there was a signed contract - lodged with lawyers - which stated he was acting on behalf of the duke in getting the painting back.

"There was certainly no conspiracy to extort money by the five men sitting in the dock," said Mr Keenan.

"The only true conspiracy was between Marshall Ronald and John Craig to deceive Robert Graham."

Later, the jury was told that Mr Graham's private-eye colleague John Doyle was just as much a victim.

In his closing speech, his defence agent, solicitor advocate Maurice Smythe, said John Craig had been like a "circus ringmaster". The undercover officer had taken charge and was "pressing the buttons".

'Real agenda'

He reminded the jury that Mr Graham had been heard to offer to Mr Craig that he would take the painting straight to a police station but Mr Craig had told him not to.

"That offer was a contradiction of extortion," he said, but Mr Craig rejected it because it "interfered with his real agenda".

"He wanted not only the painting," said Mr Smythe. "He wanted bodies. He wanted arrests."

Mr Smythe said both Mr Doyle and Mr Graham "believed in their heart and soul" that they were doing an honest thing. When they took the painting to Glasgow they were "full of pride - bursting with it".

"Their intentions were entirely pure. They were giving it back to the duke. They were delighted to do so," he said.

He dismissed the Crown's suggestion that they were involved in a criminal conspiracy as "a mad idea".

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

They deny conspiring to extort £4.25m between July and October 2007. The trial continues.

Da Vinci accused private eye 'was conned'

A private detective accused of plotting to hold a stolen Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece to ransom was conned, a jury heard on Thursday.

Robert Graham, 57, was told a contract had been signed which protected him from prosecution if he helped return the art treasure to its rightful home in Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfreisshire.

But a Lancashire-based lawyer he turned to for help lied to him, claimed solicitor advocate John Keenan, defending in his closing speech at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Graham is one of five men accused of demanding a ransom of more than £4million for the safe return of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder painting.

The art treasure had been missing for more than four years after armed raiders stole it from the Duke of Buccleuch's stately home in August 2003.

Mr Keenan, asking jurors to acquit Graham, said he had been confronted by "a thorny problem" after a tip-off that he could get his hands on the painting.

He needed expert advice and went to solicitor Marshall Ronald to see how the picture could be returned to its rightful owner without breaking the law.

Ronald, 53, then began "a personal crusade" with series of exchanges with a man he knew as John Craig, believing him to be the Duke of Buccleuch's representative. Mr Craig was, in fact, an undercover detective.

The seven week trial has heard that Ronald also used the opportunity to negotiate a £2million cut for himself - without telling Graham or any of the other accused.

Mr Keenan said: "Unfortunately he (Graham) was let down and, worse than that, he was deceived.

"Much of what Marshall Ronald did was deceitful and dishonest but it has not been established that the things he was doing were done with the knowledge of Robert Graham.

"He was kept in the dark about the way things were progressing."

Ronald had also described Graham and co-accused John Doyle - partner in their private investigation firm - as "those two idiots".

Mr Keenan said the under-cover officer had also helped persuade Graham that a contract gave him immunity.

"Without the lies spun by Marshall Ronald and John Craig the return of the painting would not have happened.

"The only true conspiracy was between Marshall Ronald and John Craig to deceive Robert Graham."

Solicitor advocate Maurice Smyth, for Doyle, said the two private eyes were proud and delighted to be able to return the Leonardo da Vinci painting.

"Their intentions were pure. They were giving the painting back to the Duke," he told the jury.

Defence QC Jack Davidson, for Scottish lawyer Calum Jones, 45, described the story which had unwound during the trial as "a colourful tale" but insisted Jones had done no wrong.

Mr Davidson said it beggared belief that during the course of a meeting lasting little over and hour Jones had agreed to a career-wrecking conspiracy plan, putting his whole life in jeopardy, with people he had never met before.

On trial are solicitor Marshall Ronald, 53, of Highmeadow, Ravenscroft, Upholland, Skelmersdale; private investigator Robert Graham, 57, of Gawhill Lane, Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancashire, his private eye partner John Doyle, 61, of Summerwood Lane, Halsall, Ormskirk, Lancashire; solicitor Calum Jones, 45, of Kepstorn, Knockbuckle Road, Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, and solicitor David Boyce, 63, of Clark Street, Airdrie, Lanarkshire.

They deny conspiring to extort pounds £4.25m between July and October 2007. An alternative charge of attempting to extort the money has been dropped.

Leonardo da Vinci conspiracy claims 'startling'


A court has been told a solicitor would not have put his unblemished record at risk by getting involved in a plot to ransom a stolen Leonardo da Vinci.

In his closing speech, defence QC David Burns said David Boyce, 63, should be cleared of a conspiracy charge.

He said claiming his client could have got involved amounted to a "startling proposition".

Mr Boyce is one of five men who deny conspiring to extort £4.25m to bring back the Madonna of the Yarnwinder.

The painting was stolen from the Duke of Buccleuch's Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway in 2003.

Mr Burns told the High Court in Edinburgh his client believed everything he had done was legal and above board.

He added he would do nothing to harm his staff or his own standing.

'Wholly incredible'

The lawyer denied that Mr Boyce had become part of a criminal conspiracy.

"Application of your commonsense may tell you that this is wholly incredible," he said.

"Would he risk ruin, his career, his future by becoming knowingly involved in a plan to extort?"

The court has previously heard from QC Jack Davidson, representing Mr Boyce's former colleague Calum Jones.

He described the case as "a colourful tale" but insisted his client had done no wrong.

Mr Davidson said it beggared belief that during the course of a meeting lasting little over an hour Mr Jones had agreed to a career-wrecking conspiracy plan, putting his whole life in jeopardy, with people he had never met before.

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

They deny conspiring to extort £4.25m between July and October 2007.

The trial continues.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Donald Findlay QC, Try For Scotland !!!

Da Vinci solicitors plot 'bizarre'
http://news.stv.tv/scotland/170270-da-vinci-solicitors-plot-bizarre/

Three lawyers and two private detectives are accused of holding a work of art ransom.

Da Vinci painting: Solicitors accused of ransom plot

A claim that experienced solicitors plotted to hold a stolen work of art to ransom was dismissed as "bizarre" in court.

They would have known the risks, but made no attempt to hide, said defence QC Donald Findlay.

He asked a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh to throw out a charge of conspiring to extort more than £4million, claiming that if true it was the best documented crime in legal history.

Five men - three lawyers and two Merseyside private detectives - are accused of demanding the money for the return of a Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece "Madonna of the Yarnwinder" snatched during an armed raid on the Duke of Buccleuch's stately home at Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfriesshire in August 2003.

But in his closing speech on Wednesday, Mr Findlay - counsel for Lancashire-based solicitor Marshall Ronald - said: "There is something fundamentally bizarre in the notion that three lawyers sat down to conspire to extort money from the Duke of Buccleuch."

Mr Findlay was referring to a meeting in Glasgow in July 2007 which, it alleged, triggered the ransom plot.

He asked: "Is it inherently likely that three lawyers, knowing what they must know about the law and, more importantly, about the way the law works, would actually sit down and conspire - that is agree to defraud a Scottish nobleman or a major insurance company, knowing all the attendant risks, then do so by leaving a paper trail a mile wide?"

Two Scottish solicitors, Calum Jones, 45, and David Boyce, 63, are accused of helping in the ransom plot after private investigators Robert Graham, 57, and John Doyle, 61, approached Ronald to say they could get their hands on the valuable painting.

Mr Findlay pointed out that their firm had just been taken over by "a blue chip, top notch, toffs only, prestige law firm"
He said: "They had made it. Why would they want to blow that to hell and back."

Mr Findlay told the nine woman and six men on the jury that they had seen letters, e-mails and records of meetings documenting the whole process of returning the painting - beginning with a letter from Ronald to a loss adjuster.

"It could not be more open and above board," said Mr Findlay. "This is the best documented crime in the history that I can ever recall."

He denied there had ever been any threats, pressure or intimidation involved.

Sting operation

Earlier the trial heard advocate-depute Simom Di Rollo QC, prosecuting, praise the police sting operation which led to the arrests.

Mr Findlay said on Wednesday that an undercover officer, posing as the Duke of Buccleuch's representative and using the alias "John Craig", had been the one who made all the running in negotiations.

"The person who was governing this from first to last was John Craig and at no time did Marshall Ronald ever say anything that amounted to a threat, real or implied. Marshall Ronald was being strung along."

Mr Craig, he added, "played Mardhall Ronald as Eric Clapton played a guitar, with consumate talent."

Mr Findlay agreed that Ronald had been obsessed by the return of the Leonardo da Vinci painting and it had become a compulsion - possibly because of the payment he hoped for.

But the lawyer said: "He is not on trial for being greedy."

And Mr Findlay pointed out Ronald should be thanked for his efforts: "The person principally responsible for the return of the painting is Marshall Ronald.

On trial are solicitor Marshall Ronald, 53, of 15A Highmeadow, Ravenscroft, Upholland, Skelmersdale; private investigator Robert Graham, 57, of 150 Gawhill Lane, Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancashire, his private eye partner John Doyle, 61, of 36 Summerwood Lane, Halsall, Ormskirk, Lancashire; solicitor Calum Jones, 45, of Kepstorn, Knockbuckle Road, Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, and solicitor David Boyce, 63, of 103 Clark Street, Airdrie, Lanarkshire.

They deny conspiring to extort £4.25million between July and October 2007. An alternative charge of attempting to extort the money has been dropped.

Art Hostage Comments:

Defence Council Keenan next, then Smythe, then Davidson, then Burns, the Four Men of the Apocalypse will strike down the Crown's case with the clenched fist of God's own thunder.

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Greed is Good, Ask the Duke of Buccluech, Who Owns Half of Scotland and Worth Half a Billion Pounds !!!


Lawyer lauded for Leonardo da Vinci artwork return

A lawyer has been lauded as the person "principally responsible" for getting a stolen da Vinci back to its owner.

Marshall Ronald was said to have become "obsessed" with the Madonna of the Yarnwinder project and then "greedy".

However, his defence advocate Donald Findlay QC said that did not make him an extortionist.

Mr Ronald is one of five men on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh who deny conspiring to extort £4.25m for the painting's return.

In his closing speech to the jury, Mr Findlay said it was an "incontrovertible fact" that but for his client's efforts the painting would not have been recovered.

It was stolen from the Duke of Buccleuch's Drumlanrig Estate in Dumfriesshire in August 2003.

Mr Findlay admitted that Mr Ronald had done things that were wrong, such as taking money from his law firm's client account.

"That is abhorrent to all lawyers," he said.

"He knows it and is ashamed of it - but that does not make him an extortionist."

He told the jury: "If you think he was greedy you may well be right but that is not the issue before you today."

Mr Findlay said it was not "a court of morals or social attitudes or personal opinions".

Proved its case

"You are asked only to decide if the Crown has proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt," he said.

Mr Findlay said Mr Ronald had committed no crime in trying to find out if there was a reward, nor in saying that it had to be at least £700,000 to acquire the painting from the person in possession of it.

Neither, he said, would it have been a crime for the duke to pay whatever sum he saw fit to get the painting back.

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

They deny conspiring to extort pounds £4.25m between July and October 2007. The trial continues.

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, "They May Take Our Lives But They will Never Take our Freedom!" !!!



Dramatic news from the Da Vinci Madonna trial.

Closing his argument for the Crown Simon Di Rollo announced the Crown was dropping all charges bar one, that of conspiracy to Extort.

As pointed out in a comment in the previous post

"How desperate does the Crown sound in this rancid prosecution?
Five men have seen charges of robbery, threatening to kill Alison Renwick, conspiracy to extort, attempted conspiracy to extort and defeating the ends of justice reduced over a two and half year period to one charge of conspiracy to extort"


So, after all the grandstanding, showboating, deceit, perjury and outright fabrications, we are left with a single charge.

This development has handed the Defence the chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The chance to deliver a devastating, truly devastating speech that will be remembered for years throughout the legal profession and beyond is on offer to all the Defence council.

The whole Scottish Police, legal and judicial system has been set up from London, by the English elite who have now shown their true colours.

There are no winners in the High court, either prosecution or defence, the only winners are South of the Border.

The only true verdict in this rancid case is one of Not Guilty therefore saving the Scottish system from further torment.

Time to "Send them homeward, tay think again"

This is the 1990 Rugby five nations grand slam all over again and Defence council should consider themselves in that vain.

Da Vinci Madonna Defence council are the Gavin Hastings, David Sole, Scott Hastings and John Jeffrey of today, Donald Findlay as the Great White Shark.

Perhaps defence council will absorb this song below and remember the English in London and Whitehall are the culprits, yet again:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA6cnXFiE6I

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Police Entrapment Praised, Secret Police State UK 2010 !!!


Leonardo da Vinci police operation praised

Prosecutors have praised an undercover police operation which led to five men being charged with conspiring to extort £4.25m for a painting's safe return.

In his closing speech, advocate depute Simon Di Rollo QC said the officers were "brave and honourable men".

He claimed the accused had not simply sought a reward for returning Leonardo da Vinci's Madonna of the Yarnwinder and compared their actions to a kidnap.

All five men deny the charges against them at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Mr Di Rollo said police had "turned the tables" on the accused.

He said one of the first moves of the men on trial had been to produce a video showing the valuable painting alongside a copy of a newspaper.

"This is a hallmark of kidnapping and extortion," he said.

Art experts

He added that the so-called "proof of life" video would not be needed to claim a reward unless there was an extortionate demand for money up front.

During six weeks of evidence, the trial has heard how an approach was made to a loss adjuster about the painting - insured for £15m when it was taken from from the Duke of Buccleuch's Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfriesshire in August 2003.

Discussions then followed but the negotiators, who the alleged plotters thought were art experts working for the duke, were actually undercover detectives.

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

They deny conspiring to extort pounds £4.25m between July and October 2007. An alternative charge of attempting to extort the money has been dropped.

The trial continues.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Permitted Evidence Over !!!



Solicitor claims 'no conspiracy' in artwork transaction

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/south_of_scotland/8616517.stm

A solicitor accused of helping to hold a stolen Da Vinci artwork has denied there was a conspiracy involved.

David Boyce, 63, told the High Court in Edinburgh he thought the transaction to return the painting was "unusual", but it was not suspicious.

He is one of five men who deny conspiring to extort £4.25m for the return of the painting in October 2007.

In the final evidence heard by the jury, Mr Boyce said: "I find myself embarrassed to be in this position."

The Madonna of the Yarnwinder was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfriesshire in 2003.

Mr Boyce, who resigned from HBJ Gateley Wareing in Glasgow following his arrest, said he felt his law firm had been used to give "a cloak of respectability" to dealings aimed at securing the valuable painting's return.

He said had been approached by Lancashire-based solicitor Marshall Ronald, a lawyer he knew from earlier property dealings, who was acting on behalf of two Merseyside private eyes who claimed they could get their hands on the painting.

'Unusual transaction'

At the request of Mr Ronald, the business of returning the painting had been kept highly confidential, but not secret, he said.

Mr Boyce told advocate depute Simon Di Rollo, prosecuting: "I have never had any involvement in any criminal transaction in my life.

"This was something that required to be done lawfully and was done lawfully."

He agreed the transaction had been "unusual" and unique in his law career, but denied it was suspicious.

"I thought the return of a stolen painting in these particular circumstances was something laudable, if it could be done lawfully," he added.

He claimed he had not seen an agreement which contained a clause demanding that "law enforcement agencies" should not be told what was happening.

Mr Boyce said he had passed matters on to junior partner Calum Jones, another of the men on trial, and had "no reason" to look at any of the documents.

He told the court: "If there was for a moment any doubt about the legality of this, I and my firm would not have been involved.

"Let me assure you of that. There was no conspiracy, no intention to extort."

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

They are not accused of stealing the painting and deny conspiring to extort £4.25m or attempting to extort the money.

Closing speeches in the trial, which is in its seventh week, are expected to begin on Tuesday.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, With Hindsight We Would All Be Scholars, and Billionaires !!!


Da Vinci lawyer: "I should have phoned the police"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/south_of_scotland/8612195.stm

A solicitor has told a trial that he should have called in police as soon as he heard about a plan to recover a stolen Leonardo da Vinci.

Calum Jones, 45, told the High Court in Edinburgh how the events which led up to his arrest in October 2007, began.

The prosecution claims a meeting he attended was the start of a plot to extort money from the Buccleuch family, the owners of the painting.

Mr Jones denies being part of a plot to hold the Da Vinci painting to ransom.

He told the court that he was called to a meeting with two Merseyside private investigators and a Lancashire-based solicitor on 30 July 2007, in the offices of his firm.

He told the court: "I write contracts. That is why I was there."

The Crown claim that the meeting was the start of a plot to extort money from the Duke of Buccleuch, owner of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder painting, or their insurers.

Advocate depute Simon Di Rollo, prosecuting, said: "All the parties in that room knew perfectly well what was going on and the reason was to extort or attempt to extort a ransom for the return of the painting."

Mr Jones replied: "I can only speak for one party and that is myself and that is not the case."

The court has been shown drafts of a supposed agreement which includes references to confidentiality and not telling law enforcement authorities what was happening - clauses which the Crown claim suggest a crime was being contemplated. Mr Jones denies the allegations.

Mr Jones said no document was ever signed.

Mr Di Rollo asked Mr Jones what sort of contract would be required.

"Absolutely none," he replied and added that he should have phoned the police straight away.

Mr Jones senior partner, David Boyce, 63, is expected to give evidence when the trial continues on Monday.

Judge Lady Dorrian, told the jury that the trial may not finish until the week beginning 19 April.

Mr Jones, from Renfrewshire, Marshall Ronald, 53, and John Doyle, 61, both from Lancashire, deny conspiring to extort or attempting to extort £4.25m for the return of the painting between July and October 2007.

Also on trial are Robert Graham, 57, from Lancashire and Mr Boyce, who is from Lanarkshire.

They are not accused of stealing the painting.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Not Me Gov !!!!


Da Vinci case lawyer 'left himself open to criminals'

Published Date: 08 April 2010
http://news.scotsman.com/arts/Da-Vinci-case-lawyer-39left.6211048.jp

By JOHN ROBERTSON
A SCOTTISH solicitor told the Madonna of the Yarnwinder trial yesterday that he had not taken seriously a scheme suggested by a "Walter Mitty" lawyer for the return of the stolen work of art.

Calum Jones said the plan to retrieve the painting and claim a reward had been outlined to him by Marshall Ronald in melodramatic fashion. As the weeks went on, he feared Ronald's involvement had changed from professional to personal, and that he had left himself open to being conned out of £350,000 by criminals holding the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece.

"He was putting up his own money and I thought he was missing the woods for the trees. He was becoming involved in something he shouldn't," said Jones.

Jones, 45, of Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, and Ronald, 53, of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, are accused with Robert Graham, 57, and John Doyle, 61, both of Ormskirk, Lancashire, and David Boyce, 63, of Airdrie, Lanarkshire, of conspiring to extort £4.25 million for the safe return of the painting. It was stolen in 2003 from the Duke of Buccleuch's Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfriesshire.

Reminded that in a police interview he had described Ronald as a Walter Mitty, Jones said: "He had a melodramatic turn of phrase. He clearly had taken the return of this painting to heart."

The trial continues.

Solicitor made stag night quip over da Vinci arrest
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/south_of_scotland/8607994.stm

A solicitor accused of extortion over a stolen da Vinci made an "inappropriate" quip to colleagues as he was arrested.

As police led him in handcuffs from the boardroom of a prestigious law firm in Glasgow, Calum Jones, 45, said: "This reminds me of my stag night."

He told the High Court in Edinburgh that he was putting on a "brave face".

Mr Jones and four others deny trying to extort £4.25m for the return of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder, which belongs to the Duke of Buccleuch.

The court heard Mr Jones, a solicitor for 23 years, became involved when Lancashire-based solicitor Marshall Ronald approached his firm seeking advice on Scots law.

He said his advice was to get in touch with the loss adjuster handling things on behalf of the painting's insurers and thought that would be the end of his involvement.

He said he did not believe the painting would actually turn up at the Glasgow offices of law firm HBJ Gateley Wareing, where it was seized during a police raid on 4 October 2007.

Questioned by defence QC Jack Davidson, Mr Jones agreed that he had made an "inappropriate" stag night reference as he passed colleagues.

"These were people I had worked with for eight years and I was being taken out in handcuffs," said Mr Jones, who later resigned as a partner.

"It seemed appropriate to be flippant and show I was not taking this as seriously as I was."

He said he thought police just wanted to speak to him about being in the same room as a stolen painting.

'Driving force'

Earlier the trial heard that on his way to the boardroom in the firm's offices in West Regent Street, Jones had told a colleague he expected to make art history or be arrested.

Mr Jones told the court he thought he could be questioned about Mr Ronald, who had paid £350,000 to obtain the painting, being conned.

He said he would have probably called in police himself had he known the cash was taken from funds Mr Ronald was holding in trust for clients.

The court heard Mr Jones knew Mr Ronald only as a contact of senior partner David Boyce, 63, and described Mr Ronald to police as a "Walter Mitty" character.

Mr Jones said: "He had a melodramatic turn of phrase. He clearly had taken the return of this painting, as he saw it, to heart."

Mr Ronald was supposed to be acting as a solicitor for private investigator John Doyle, but seemed to take over as "the driving force behind the transaction", the trial heard.

"I have to say, from the beginning I didn't take it particularly seriously," Mr Jones said. "It seemed an unlikely set of circumstances."

The court also heard Mr Doyle, 61, who is said to have played a key role in the return of the painting stolen in 2003, had chosen not to give evidence.

He heard from a pool player in a Merseyside pub that the masterpiece could be obtained from underworld figures at a price, the trial was told.

At the time Mr Doyle helped run a detective agency called Crown Private Investigations.

Mr Jones, from Renfrewshire, and Mr Ronald and Mr Doyle, 61, both from Lancashire, deny conspiring to extort or attempting to extort £4.25m between July and October 2007.

Also on trial are Robert Graham, 57, from Lancashire and solicitor David Boyce, from Lanarkshire.

They are not accused of the robbery.

The trial continues.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Robbie Graham Stands Tall, Firm and Truthful, Not So Clear Cut Now !!!!


Robbie Graham finished giving his evidence today and the important thing is he gave a full, truthful account despite the accusations of the Prosecution.

A magician pulls a Rabbit out the hat, The Da Vinci Madonna accused pulled a Robbie Graham out of the Hat.

Jack Doyle is not giving evidence, straight to Calum Jones, David Boyce, a couple of character witnesses for David Boyce, then closing speeches.

Out of the Clouds of Darkness, deceit, and dishonest Prosecution allegations, a ray of Truthful Sunshine is slowly emerging.

More to follow...........

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Week 6 !!


Da Vinci painting 'handed over in pub car park'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/south_of_scotland/8605712.stm

A stolen Leonardo Da Vinci painting was handed over to a private investigator in a pub car park, a court has heard.

The Madonna of the Yarnwinder began its journey back to Scotland in 2007, four years after it was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfriesshire.

Robert Graham, 57, of Lancashire, told Edinburgh High Court he met an underworld figure in a Liverpool car park and paid £350,000 for the canvas.

Mr Graham is one of five men who deny trying to extort £4.25m for the canvas.

The private eye was giving evidence as the trial moved into its sixth week.

He insisted that everything he did was "legal and lawful" and denied that anyone had ever threatened the safety of the painting.

He described how his partner in Crown Private Investigations, John Doyle, had been the first to hear about the possibility of being involved in the return of the artwork.

The pair went to solicitor Marshall Ronald for advice and learned there was supposed to be a reward or finder's fee of £1m.

"We thought we could live with that," Mr Graham told the court.

Mr Ronald met a man he believed was acting for the Duke - but was really part of a police sting operation - and came back to say £2m was on offer.

"I thought it was fantastic. It was twice as much as my highest hope," Mr Graham said.

He told defence solicitor John Keenan: "We thought that if we were very lucky and everything went well we would end up with £50,000 each which was fantastic wages."

Mr Graham said he had hoped to go to Drumlanrig Castle to personally hand over the Madonna painting to its owner, the Duke of Buccleuch, in a blaze of publicity.

Both he and Mr Doyle had insisted on publicity as part of the deal, as it could have revived the fortunes of "Stolen Stuff Re-united", a loss-making website they ran together.

"We just thought it would be the best advert," Mr Graham told the court.

"You couldn't buy an advert like that. If you could get a Da Vinci back, you could get anything back."

The arrangement led to him travelling to the pub car park in Hale with £350,000 in the boot of his Jaguar to hand to an underworld figure who was in touch with the people who had the painting.

Some hours later the man known to the trial only as Karl returned with the painting, covered by a white sheet, in a sponge-lined container.

'On her way'

After a phone call to Mr Ronald to say "The Lady is on her way home" Mr Graham and Mr Doyle drove north, but rain and traffic problems forced them to pull into the Lockerbie Manor Hotel.

The following morning they took photos of the painting with throwaway cameras bought from the local Tesco.

The painting was later delivered the the Glasgow offices of law firm HBJ Gateley Wareing where it was seized during a police raid.

On trial alongside Mr Graham are Marshall Ronald, 53, and John Doyle, 61, also from Lancashire, and Calum Jones, 45 from Renfrewshire and David Boyce, 63, from Lanarkshire.

They are not accused of the robbery.

The trial continues.


Da Vinci plot accused 'over the moon' as reward soared

Published Date: 07 April 2010
By JOHN ROBERTS0N
http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/Da-Vinci-plot-accused-39over.6207651.jp

A MAN told a court yesterday that he was "over the moon" when an expected £50,000 reward for returning a stolen Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece rose almost fivefold. Robert Graham said the increased figure had nothing to do with a ransom plot.

"No threats were ever used at any time," he told the High Court in Edinburgh.

Graham also said he was proud to have played a part in returning the £20 million Madonna of the Yarnwinder to its owner, the Duke of Buccleuch. The painting was stolen in 2003 from Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfriesshire.

Graham, 57, said he had been a publican in Liverpool and he and John Doyle, 61, also ran an online company, Stolen Stuff Reunited, through which people could advertise lost items.

Marshall Ronald, 53, a solicitor from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, set up the business for them and they went to him when a man, "J", made contact about the possibility of returning the stolen painting. J and an associate, Frank, were intermediaries for someone who was holding the painting.

Graham and Doyle wanted to know if it could be returned legally, and if there was any reward.

They had heard of a figure of £1m, and the holder of the painting wanted £700,000 to surrender it.

Graham said Ronald believed it was feasible, but he wanted advice on Scots law and the three of them attended a meeting in Glasgow with solicitors Calum Jones, 45, and David Boyce, 63.

The Crown alleges that, as part of a plot to hold the painting to ransom, Ronald threatened to an undercover policeman that "volatile individuals" would "do something very silly" if the police were informed.

Graham said: "He mentioned it once (at the meeting]. He had been corrected, and we thought that would be the end of it." He had heard of £1m and had thought £700,000 would be needed to pay the "holder" of the painting and the rest shared between him, Doyle, Ronald, J and Frank, with some left for legal fees.

"We had thought if we were very lucky and everything went well, we would end up with £50,000 each, which was fantastic wages," said Graham. Ronald told him there had been an offer of a £2m reward.

"I was over the moon. I thought it was fantastic, twice as much as our highest hopes," said Graham. His cut was to be £235,000.

Graham told the court Ronald had £350,000 in cash delivered to him, and he handed over the money to J at a pub near Liverpool. Some hours later, J returned to the pub and gave him the painting.

Graham and Doyle drove with it to Scotland, spending the night in a hotel in Lockerbie, and going next morning to a meeting in Glasgow, where the painting was to be verified as genuine.

Ronald, Graham, Doyle, Jones and Boyce deny conspiring to extort £4.25m for the safe return of the painting.

The trial continues

Friday, April 02, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Perjury King Mark Dalrymple, Part 1


Mark Dalrymple Perjury Part 1

The case that will show Mark Dalrymple has recovered stolen art without keeping Police informed is from 2007, same year as Da Vinci Madonna recovery, before the Da Vinci Madonna recovery.

This case involved three paintings stolen from an art dealer in West London, Acton in 2005.

The three paintings were insured by AXA for over £1 million and Mark Dalrymple was assigned the Art Loss Adjuster through his company Tyler and Co to investigate and recover these three paintings.

Mark Dalrymple assigned Dick Ellis, Ex-Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques Squad founder, who retired in 2000 and now works as a private art loss investigator.

Dick Ellis was contacted by two men, Robert Fairbrother and Nigel Fealden, who said they could organise the recovery of the said three paintings stolen from an Art Dealer in West London, Acton, in 2005.

Dick Ellis duly contacted Mark Dalrymple with the good news. However, neither Mark Dalrymple or Dick Ellis informed the London Metropolitan Police in Acton to tell them and it was only once the stolen three paintings were recovered were Police told.

Dick Ellis arranged for the stolen three paintings to be delivered to him and he took possession of the three stolen paintings.

It was only then, once Dick Ellis had possession of the three stolen paintings, and had kept his employer, Mark Dalrymple informed throughout, especially at the crucial point of Dick Ellis taking possession of the three stolen paintings, was it decided London Acton Police should be informed.

So, Dick Ellis, three stolen paintings in his possession, telephoned Acton police and said “Those three paintings stolen back in 2005, well, I have recovered them so you better come and collect them”

Acton Police duly attended and collected the three stolen paintings from Dick Ellis and said to Dick Ellis “Should’t we arrest you Dick ?” to which the Wiley old Fox of Scotland Yard Dick Ellis just gave a cold stare, and was met with a sheepish reply “O’h, perhaps no arrest then”

Subsequent to the recovery Acton Police interviewed both Robert Fairbrother and Nigel Fealden under caution, bailed them and a file was sent to the Crown Prosecution Services.

The Crown Prosecution services decided there was not enough evidence to issue charges, not least because Dick Ellis had been the one handing over the stolen paintings to Acton Police.
No further Police action was taken.

However, then Fairbrother and Fealden applied for the advertised reward of £50,000 and were met with an arrogant denial from Mark Dalrymple because Acton Police, incensed by their exclusion from the stolen art recovery, refused to issue a “Comfort letter” saying that Acton Police had no objections to AXA, via Mark Dalrymple paying the advertised reward of £50,000 to Robert Fairbrother and Nigel Fealden.

To their credit Fairbrother and Fealden issued High Court Lawsuit proceedings and they were due to be heard last summer 2009.

However, just before the case was due to be heard Mark Dalrymple made certain advances towards Police via third parties explaining if this case went to court it could undermine the evidence Mark Dalrymple was going to give in the Da Vinci Madonna case.

Therefore, Acton Police were pressured to issue the Comfort letter and a secret sealed deal was made whereby the £50,000 was paid out. Still, once the lawyers had got their fee’s Fairbrother and Fealden got very little at all.

The significance is Mark Dalrymple knew all along and conspired with Dick Ellis to withhold information from Acton police and the hand back of the stolen three paintings, worth over £1 million, was made without any arrests.

This flies in the face of the evidence, under oath, Mark Dalrymple gave recently in the High Court Edinburgh, Scotland.

“I never recover stolen art without working closely with Police every step of the way”

Please, Don't take the word of Art Hostage, go check it out with Mark Dalrymple, Dick Ellis, Robert Fairbrother and Nigel Fealden.

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Déjà Vu !!


Here We Go Again !!!!

I defy anyone to watch this whole Youtube scene and not be moved by the sheer audacity of Gareth Peirce.

Now there was a Defence Council fighting for her client !!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgUWn0gVpq0 Longer version
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgUWn0gVpq0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgUWn0gVpq0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBaE5msKjsA&feature=related

In the case of Her Majesty versus Marshal Ronald...
The case is hereby dismissed


In the case of Her Majesty versus Robbie Graham....
The case is hereby dismissed


In the case of Her Majesty versus Jack Doyle...........
The case is hereby dismissed


In the case of Her Majesty versus Calum Jones........
The case is hereby dismissed


In the case of Her Majesty versus David Boyce.........
The case is hereby dismissed


This is the real life footage and a brief interview given by Gerry Conlon shortly after his release below, circa 1989.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0WLCJ26Emc

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Car Crash Gives Pause For Thought !!!!


Da Vinci painting trial delayed after car crash
http://news.stv.tv/scotland/west-central/167286-da-vinci-painting-trial-delayed-after-car-crash/

One of the men accused of £4million plot over the "Madonna of the Yarnwinder" painting was involved in an accident.

A lawyer accused of helping hold a stolen Leonardo da Vinci painting to ransom for more than £4million failed to appear at his trial on Thursday because of a car crash smash.

A jury at the High Court in Edinburgh was told that Calum Jones, 45, had emerged "shaken" from the crash which had damaged his car and written off another vehicle.

"It was a crash of some significance," said defence QC Jack Davidson, suggesting that even if he were able to make it to Edinburgh, his client might not be up to a day in court.

Jones, from Kilmacolm, is thought to have been driving to a station to catch a train for Edinburgh when the accident happened. Judge Lady Dorrian agreed it was "sensible" to send the jury home and the trial is expected to continue next Tuesday.

Jones was arrested when police raided the Glasgow offices of prestige law firm HBJ Gateley Wareing - where Jones was a partner - and recovered the "Madonna of the Yarnwinder" painting from the boardroom table.

The raid was the result of a sting operation by undercover detectives, the trial has heard. Two Scottish solicitors, an English solicitor and two Merseyside private eyes are now in the dock accused of plotting to secure a huge pay-off.

On trial are solicitor Marshall Ronald, 53, of Upholland, Skelmersdale; Robert Graham, 57, of Ormskirk, Lancashire, and John Doyle, 61, of Ormskirk, Lancashire, who ran Crown Private Investigations; solicitor Jones, of Knockbuckle Road, Kilmacolm and solicitor David Boyce, 63, of Airdrie, Lanarkshire.

They deny conspiring to extort pounds £4,250,000 or, alternatively, attempting to extort the money. The trial continues.

Art Hostage Comments:

First and foremost, Art Hostage has never alluded to any Masonic involvement yet, so don't try and put words into Art Hostage's mouth, no room anyway !!!!

If it transpires there is indeed a Masonic link then that will be addressed at that time, not now Josephine !!!


Gatwick Airport meeting Dalrymple, Two S.O.C.A. Officers and the Architect January 2007.

This meeting was held at the Gatwick Airport Hilton Hotel January 2007 and Mark Dalrymple should been asked about it when he gave his Perjury, sorry Evidence.

So, in a week where we saw for the first time in 400 years a trial in London held without a jury by a Judge in regards Twomey and the Heathrow robbery, the Da Vinci Madonna accused should be grateful they are not facing a Diplock court with no jury.

Prosecutors did not reveal any evidence of jury tampering in the Twomey case to the Defence it was all given in secret to the Judge.

The pendulum of justice has swung so far towards the prosecution any notion of a fair trial in either England or Scotland is laughable.

Lets go back to late summer 2007 when the Duke of Buccluech died. Mark Dalrymple pleaded with Art Hostage to not expose the offer given by one of the defendants, Jack Doyle I think, to just take the Da Vinci Madonna to a local Police station and hand it in.

In all of this Jack Doyle has only committed one crime, and that is, his dreadful dress sense on the first day of the trial, wearing those stupid Giorgio Armani Belt and GA Scarf.
However, for that he should only receive a fixed penalty of £60 as since then I am led to believe the dress sense of Jack Doyle is of a more Conservative nature.

If that had been allowed to happen, the Da Vinci Madonna just handed in at a local Police station, the Scottish Police would have not had the glory to bask in of this clear cut entrapment.

Notice that S.O.C.A. who were at the centre of this investigation, along with other shadowy agencies, are not mentioned at all and it is being spun as a Scottish Police sterling effort to recover the Da Vinci Madonna and arrest those indicted.

The dangling of the "Duke with £10 million plus to spend on a recovery of the Da Vinci Madonna" was done so the defendants became intoxicated with greed and requested a multi-million payout for the recovery of the Da Vinci Madonna. Once that multi-million payout was agreed then of course Marshal Ronald would be so intoxicated he would reach to his clients account and pay the up-front money to get the Da Vinci Madonna released.

You think that the security services, who were all over the defendants physically and electronically, did not observe where the money went ??? Of course they did every step of the way. And from the other end, security services were observing those from the Irish side for other reasons and stumbled upon this deal but held back whilst watching the money travel down the winding road to ?????????????

No, instead Art Hostage was told in no uncertain terms, threatened even, to sit on his hands and allow this thing to play out.

Now, don't get me wrong, the frustration of Art Hostage in allowing Scottish Police their X-Factor moment, was only because this window dressing prevented the Gardner art held from surfacing, not because these five men and the other three men due for trial were indicted on an rancid, false, trumped up, set of charges that are as welcome within the stolen art recovery world as a Fart in a Spacesuit.

Whilst the Scottish Police were crowing over their perceived success, the FBI and authorities in America, Boston and the Washington beltway were incandescent with rage because it prevented the best chance in 20 years to recover the Gardner art.

Furthermore, the next trial in April will be totally different, why, well the defence in that proposed case have done their homework, unlike the current defence team, and the whole Da Vinci Madonna case will be blown out of the water, no pun intended.

Perjury, I can count at least three occasions of perjury committed by the arrogant Mark Dalrymple and the details are not too difficult to establish.

All the things that will come out are not hard to establish and have been available for years. The current defence team have not done their job and it is only now they are running around trying to backstop their efforts.

Shame Calum Jones could not secure the services of Genghis Keen QC as he would have exposed this whole rancid affair.

O'h and yes, the D Notices are ready and waiting in case the truth starts to leak out.

Theatre is what this case is all about, a total charade, a farce. Who was the bright spark who allowed the Madonna to be on display 400 yards from the court. And all the nonsense about taking the Jury to see this icon to give them a sense they were involved in a iconic case.

Lets get this right, the Da Vinci Madonna painting whilst a masterpiece, is not even in the top fifty masterpieces around the world and everyone is getting carried away with the significance of this alleged Da Vinci autographed artwork.

More to follow after a fillet steak lunch !!!

Apologies for the little white lie, it was not fillet steak, it was a Chinese lunch, Aromatic Duck, Won ton soup, Steamed Sea Bass and Singapore noodles.

The Fortune cookie said:

"Remember Watergate, it was the cover up that made President Nixon resign, not the original break-in !!!"

However, a second Fortune Cookie said:

"Expect a visit from the Men With Big Boots"

Back to business,..........

Memo to the Defendants:

Don't be so naive as to think your defence council are fighting for you.

Have you noticed how lightly the defence are letting off key prosecution witnesses, notice how the defence council seem to be just going through the motions.

Normally, defence council want to win to enhance their ego and reputation, no so in this case, as there may have been back-room deals discussed whereby the defence panda to the prosecution and act like Yellow Sycophants.

If the defence had really been fighting this case for their clients then Mark Dalrymple would be looking at three perjury charges and this case would have been thrown out earlier on in the proceedings.

John Craig should have been asked if he expected to receive any monies after the trial, a little pension nest-egg ???

John Craig should have been asked how long has he been working on the Da Vinci Madonna case ??? answer would be, from shortly after the original theft in August 2003.

What kind of Undercover work did John Craig do in Ireland is another question that should have been asked., FRU, Brigadier Gordon Kerr, maybe ????

Now, I suppose you want details of the three times Mark Dalrymple has committed perjury ???

Well, I need to think for a minute on that, Ill get back on it soon................

O'h, and lets not forget the intoxicating nature of the Da Vinci Madonna in relation to the Scottish Police Drug squad.

They could not even wait until after the trial before they added the figure of £11 million, a third of the value of the Da Vinci Madonna, to their asset recovery figures.

Yes thats right, the Scottish Police Drug Squad had the balls to try and add £11 million to their figues to massage the figures and give themselves a boost.

If you doubt any of these facts go check it out.

More to follow.............