In the Media

Woman 'tried to smuggle ingots in bra following ?1m bullion robbery'

PUBLISHED September 13, 2012

Sheron Mancini had the iphone-sized bars, which weighed up to 1kg, hidden in her underwear when she was stopped by Belgian police on her way to catch a ferry back to England, it was said.

The jury were told that Sam and Billie Faiers, who appear in the popular television programme The Only Way Is Essex, are to give defence evidence in the trial of John Corley, 53, father and son Andreas and Kayracos Nicolas, 50 and 30, and Mrs Mancini, 53.

She is accused of helping a gang who had faked the heist of gold and silver bullion worth a million pounds from the back of a lorry in Belgium driven by gang member Brian Mulcahay. The consignment was on its way to a smelters in the UK.

However the Old Bailey heard the plot was "doomed to failure" because some of the gang were being watched by British police and they were all soon rounded up.

The jury were told six of the gang, David Chatwood, 58, lorry driver Mulcahay, 46, Matthew Middleton, 42, Gary Cummings, 51, Stanley Rose, 75, and Mancini's partner David Gale, 55, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal.

Prosecutor John Price QC said the robbery took place as Mulcahay drove his consignment of bullion from Swiss firm Metalor from a depot outside Brussels towards Ostend on October 4 of last year.

He told police East European robbers following behind had flashed him indicating something was wrong with his load and when he pulled over was forced at gunpoint to a lay-by.

There his load was stolen and he was bundled into the back of his trailer and locked inside.

But Mr Price said: "Mulcahay's account of his ordeal given to Belgian police was pure fiction, an invention as Mulcahay had not been the victim of a robbery.

"No violence or threat of violence had been used against him at all. It had not been necessary for anyone to do so because in this incident the driver of the lorry was himself one of the thieves.

"Mulcahay was the inside man assisting others to carry out the theft of his own valuable load of bullion.

"Though this theft was executed in Belgium no doubt to conceal the origin and the identities of those involved, this British lorry and the valuable bullion cargo had been targetted for this theft by British thieves.

"This was a crime made in Britain, carried out in Belgium and blamed on East Europeans.

"It was not an opportunistic event. This was not a spontaneous crime. On the contrary it was long in planning going back to the mid summer of last year, July 2011."

Part of the plan had been to dispose of the bullion and convert it into money and it is alleged Mancini was stopped as she carried back "marketing specimens" to the ultimate buyers of the bullion.

Mr Price said she and gale had travelled to Belgium a week after the robbery and were arrested two days before the gold and silver bullion was recovered from an Antwerp hotel room booked by Rose.

Rose had checked in the day they left to return back to the UK in their car but were stopped as they made their way to the coast.

Mr Price said: "They were arrested and taken to a Belgian police station. When Mancini was later searched at that police station there was found concealed in her bra two gold ingots wrapped in plastic bags with the 'Metalor' label.

"Sufficient to say that's the identity of the source of the bullion and the plastic bags and labels establishes beyond question the ingots in her bra were part of the stolen consignment from Metalor in Switzerland that had been in the back of the lorry.

"She could provide no sensible innocent explanation for the discovery of the gold so concealed in her underwear, for in truth there could be none."

Also found by Belgian police hidden in their car was grains of silver hidden in a travel bag.

Alleged central players in the plot Corley from Biggin Hill, Kent and Kayracos Nicolas of Winchmore Hill, north London deny conspiracy to steal.

The pair along with Mancini of Roydon, Harlow, and Andreas Nicolas of Duxford, Cambridgeshire, deny conspiracy to conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert or transfer criminal property.

The trial continues.