Men jailed for violent watch robbery in Chelsea
Two men who violently stole a £100,000 watch from a group of US visitors have been jailed after a joint investigation by the Met’s Flying Squad and Westminster Robbery Squad.
On Tuesday, 24 January at Isleworth Crown Court, Thomas Lenaghan, 24 (17.10.98), of Rylston Road, SW6, and Ronnie Fitzgerald, 20 (29.03.02) of Valence Avenue, Romford were both sentenced to six years, nine months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to rob, threatening a person with a bladed article in a public place, possession of a stun gun and threatening a person with a stun gun.
Both pleaded guilty to all offences at an earlier hearing on 5 October 2022.
John Stovell, 51 (06.12.71) of North End Road, W14, was jailed for 18 months having pled guilty to handling stolen goods and assisting an offender.
DC Robert Rodak, who worked on the investigation, said: “This was a shocking and violent robbery which understandably left the victims shaken and feeling incredibly fortunate they did not suffer more serious injury.
“Everyone should be able to walk through our streets unaffected by this type of crime and that is why we are doing everything we can to take offenders like Lenaghan, Fitzgerald and Stovell off our streets.
“This conviction was a result of a joint effort where our local team was assisted by the specialist skills of the Flying Squad to catch those responsible. Working together we will continue to target and relentlessly pursue robbers who commit violent crime in London.”
At around 00:15hrs on 16 November 2021, three people were crossing Pavilion Road in Chelsea when they were approached by a group dressed in black and wearing balaclavas.
One of the victims, aged 31, was pushed to the floor and hit from behind by a stun gun. The suspects surrounded him and demanded he hand over his Rolex watch, worth around £100,000. His father was threatened with a knife, which cut through his coat but did not cause injury, as he tried to stop the attack.
Their friend was also threatened with a stun gun and forced to hand over her watch, worth around £200.
The suspects then got into a waiting car which sped off from the location.
Despite the attack being caught on several CCTV cameras and captured on mobile phones, those responsible were not identifiable as they had their faces covered and wore generic clothing
The car they were using, a Jaguar F-PACE, was stolen and displaying false plates, meaning it also proved difficult to identify and track down.
Detectives from the Met’s Flying Squad painstakingly analysed the footage and managed to see that the car had a small sticker on the bottom right corner of its windshield.
They then worked through crime records to find out how many Jaguar F-PACEs had been reported stolen and remained unrecovered in recent months, leaving them with 30-40 possible vehicles.
The team contacted each owner and ascertained if any of their cars had any particular identifying features.
One told officers that their car had a parking permit for their child’s school – a description which matched the sticker seen on the car used in the robbery.
This was the breakthrough moment the team had been looking for as it allowed them to discover the car’s true ‘identity’. From there, they were able to work out where the car had been prior to and after the robbery and explore further CCTV opportunities, leading to footage capturing the robbers meeting without masks.
The photos of their faces were circulated and led to the identification of Lenaghan, Stovell and Fitzgerald.
The car was found in a carpark in North End Road, SW6; a forensic examination linked the men to the vehicle.
Detective Chief Superintendent Owain Richards, responsible for local policing in Kensington and Chelsea, said: “in recent months we have been focusing our resources in hot spot areas where we know watch robberies have increased.
“Our dedicated robbery team are tirelessly tracking down those responsible for these kind of crimes and we hope this case demonstrates that anyone committing these offences will be identified and brought to justice.”