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
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 grabhttp://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 !!!!