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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, This Johnson Gets Justice, Unlike Cotswold Counterparts !!

One man is cleared in antiques robbery trial

A motorway worker has been cleared of taking part in a violent robbery.

William "Billy" Johnson, 47, was accused of being one of the three men who raided Aldsworth House, near Chichester, on June 4, 2006.

Owners Tom and Sarah Williams' were tied up and held prisoner as the raiders spent six hours ransacking their home.

One of the intruders threatened to pull out Mr Williams' fingernails with pliers unless he co-operated.

The gang escaped with antiques worth £382,000 including the retired Army Major's treasured medals.

Walter Hornsby, prosecuting, told the court that Johnson, of Oxford Avenue, Southampton used Mr Williams' bank card hours after the raid.

It was claimed that grainy images from CCTV cameras showed him at a One Stop shop cashpoint in Salisbury Green, Southampton. Johnson said he was asleep at his mothers home where he had been all night when the raid took place.

Jurors found him not-guilty of robbery yesterday after a nine-week trial at Hove Crown Court.

They are still considering verdicts in respect of Wolfgang Schmelz, 57 and Christopher Doughty, 48, both from Southampton, who deny robbery.

Former Brighton Knocker Boy, now described as an Antiques dealer, Phillip Capewell, 64, has been found guilty of four charges of handling stolen property from burglaries across Sussex and the South East.

Capewell, of Grand Avenue, Hove, was cleared of five further charges of handling stolen antiques.

He and fellow Antiques dealer Daniel Brummer, 56, of Furze Hill, Hove, were cleared of conspiracy to handle stolen property.

The jury is still considering its verdict on a charge that Capewell conspired with Schmelz and Doughty to handle stolen antiques from Aldsworth House.

Schmelz and Doughty have admitted one charge of handling stolen antiques from the raid.

Art Hostage comments:
I will go further after the final verdicts, but for now I want to say that Daniel Brummer was innocent all along and it is good to see him cleared of any wrongdoing.

The only thing Daniel Brummer is guilty of is being too trusting and I wish him well in the future.

"Hang on a minute Art Hostage, you said all Antiques dealers are dishonest"

I hear coming from the stalls.

Well, not all, there is a rare breed of Antiques dealer, accounting for less than 10% of the Antiques trade, who play by the rules and work very hard to make a living. Daniel Brummer is just such a chap, straight as a gun barrel, but a little too trusting, hence why he has been caught up in this whole nightmare.

As for Billy Johnson, after considering the evidence against him, the jury acquitted him because there was sufficient reasonable doubt.

The other Johnson trial ended with a different verdict, even though the evidence was less than convincing, and large chunks were denied to to the defence, see link and comments at end of story:

Postcode Justice ???
Anyway, more to come when the final verdicts are in.
Memo to Bonnie Johnson:
I have not recieved any contact from you, however, if you decide to seek my advice you can contact me at

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