Gang that stole £3.75m Portland Tiara targeted England footballers, court told

Addressing the theft of the tiara, Mr Brady said: “Stolen during the burglaries were two pieces of diamond encrusted jewellery, the Portland Tiara and an associated brooch, with a combined value of approximately £3,750,000.

“The tiara and brooch formed part of the Portland Collection. It is difficult to overstate the importance and cultural value of these pieces of jewellery. Other works of art that formed part of the same collection included masterpieces by Michelangelo, van Dyck, Stubbs and a pearl earring worn by Charles I at his execution.

“These were trophy pieces of the gallery’s exhibition – extremely valuable, unique and of significant historical importance. They were displayed for the public’s enjoyment. Their theft is a shocking event and means that they will never again be seen in their original state.

“It is self-evident that burglaries of this nature require detailed and careful planning, including consideration of how to dispose of such unique pieces – an exercise that, to reduce the risk of detection to those who commit the burglary, is frequently undertaken as soon as possible after the property is stolen.”

Ashley Cumberpatch, his partner Kelly Duong, Andrew MacDonald, Dilks and fellow defendants Matthew Johnson and Adrian Eddishaw are all accused of conspiracy to burgle in relation to the theft of the tiara.

Mr Brady said: “Each was wearing an outfit designed to prevent identification and eliminate the risk of leaving any scientific evidence at the scene – motorcycle helmets, boiler suits, overalls and gloves.

“Each was carrying a hand or power tool, used to gain entry to the gallery, vault and display case. Their sole target was undoubtedly the Portland Tiara and brooch. The three burglars immediately made for them. They weren’t interested in anything else. On any view, this was a professionally executed, well-planned offence.”

The sixth Duke of Portland commissioned Cartier to create the Portland Tiara for his wife, Winifred, Duchess of Portland. She wore the diamond-encrusted headpiece, whose centrepiece is the Portland Diamond, to the coronation of King Edward, the Queen’s great-grandfather, in 1902.

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