(Kamran Jebreili/AP)Members of an armed gang are on trial after they've been charged with stealing millions from the Dubai royal family. The £2million heist ($3,099,000) was the royal family's "holiday spending money" set aside for its visit to London on June 24.
Royal aide Abdullah Shakeri, who testified from behind a protective screen, said he thought members of the gang were only joking when they first approached him outside the Emirates Bank in Knightsbridge, West London with the demand to "put the cases down or I'll shoot you in the face." The Daily Mail reports that the robbers then repeated their threat and told Shakeri he would be shot if he did not flee the scene.
Prosecutor Alexandra Felix said the money was divided into £50 notes, held in two suitcases. "The royal family were in the UK and required money for their stay here," Felix said. "Mr Shakeri had made arrangements to collect the money. He and the manager went into a room to count the money. The cash was in £50 note bundles which was placed in suitcases."
Shakeri described the man who held him at gunpoint as a young Middle Eastern man with short dark gelled hair and a leather jacket. "He had a gun. I think it was a black automatic handgun. He pointed it at me," Shakeri said. The man then shouted for an accomplice, whom Shakeri described as a black man wearing a white hard hat and a "high visibility jacket." The accomplice reportedly told Shakeri and the other royal family staff to run into a nearby shop. "We did as we were asked so we went into a H&M just next to the bank," Shakeri said.
After the robbers fled, the royal family staff radioed the diplomatic protection group, who pursued the suspects. A man fitting the description of the first suspect was spotted just 300 feet from the crime scene but escaped and has yet to be found.
An officer spotted the suspect throwing a metallic object under a car, which he thought was a gun but turned out to be two mobile phones.
However, police were able to apprehend getaway driver Johnathon Haynes, 36, along with the royal family's stolen cash. They also found the hard hat, the high-visibility jacket and a passport for Trevor Mair, 46, inside the car.
When Haynes was handcuffed, he reportedly told the arresting officers, "Yes, OK, fair enough. Are you going to take me to the police station now because I'm a bit cold."
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