Muggers jailed after stealing £30,000 gold Rolex from Duchess of Cambridge’s fashion designer

Royal designer Amanda Wakeley on Friday described the moment two moped muggers held an axe to her throat to steal her £30,000 Rolex.

The 57-year-old said the ordeal of being targeted as she walked to her Porsche was ‘one of the most frightening experiences in my life’.

Connor Murphy, 26, pounced with an accomplice after earlier letting down the tyres of the car to make Miss Wakeley stop to investigate. 

He threatened her with the axe and screamed ‘give me your watch’ as the other man dragged her to the ground in a headlock.

Royal designer Amanda Wakeley, pictured above with model Amber Le Bon, on Friday described the moment two moped muggers held an axe to her throat to steal her £30,000 Rolex (pictured on her wrist)

Royal designer Amanda Wakeley, pictured above with model Amber Le Bon, on Friday described the moment two moped muggers held an axe to her throat to steal her £30,000 Rolex (pictured on her wrist)

Royal designer Amanda Wakeley, pictured above with model Amber Le Bon, on Friday described the moment two moped muggers held an axe to her throat to steal her £30,000 Rolex (pictured on her wrist) 

The pair then wrenched her rose gold Rolex Daytona – which she had worn since the death of her father – from her wrist and fled on a scooter. 

Six months on, the watch has not been recovered.  

Miss Wakeley told the Daily Mail: ‘It was one of the most frightening experiences in my life to find a man charging at me with an axe and then me knocked to the ground but I am just grateful that I am fine and know that in this time of Covid there are so many other people who have far worse things to worry about.’

She added: ‘The watch had a special value for me as I bought it after my father died, in his memory.’

The designer, whose signature evening dresses are favourites of the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex, was left with neck pain after the attack in Chelsea Harbour in London on November 13 last year, London’s Isleworth Crown Court heard.

Connor Murphy, pictured, was jailed at Isleworth Crown Court

Connor Murphy, pictured, was jailed at Isleworth Crown Court

Richard Walsh, pictured, was jailed at Isleworth Crown Court

Richard Walsh, pictured, was jailed at Isleworth Crown Court

Connor Murphy, pictured left, and Richard Walsh, pictured right, were jailed for more than ten years at Isleworth Crown Court

Murphy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery while Richard Walsh, 29, of Ladbroke Grove, West London, admitted he helped plan the crime by researching the value of the watch online.

A third man, who had grabbed Miss Wakeley by the throat, has not been caught.

Police would like to speak to Mark Toth, 35, from west London, in connection with the robbery. 

CCTV footage taken at the time shows Miss Wakeley walking to her Porsche 997 Carrera 4S before pausing when she realises one of the tyres is flat. 

Murphy then rides on to the pavement on a scooter wielding the axe while his accomplice grabs the fashion designer.

The 57-year-old managed to get this photo of the robbers making off after the mugging

The 57-year-old managed to get this photo of the robbers making off after the mugging

The 57-year-old managed to get this photo of the robbers making off after the mugging

Her partner Hugh Morrison posted this message online after the incident in November

Her partner Hugh Morrison posted this message online after the incident in November

Her partner Hugh Morrison posted this message online after the incident in November

The thieves let the tyres of her car down, stalling her, before riding up and threatening her with an axe (pictured: Ms Wakeley's Porsche)

The thieves let the tyres of her car down, stalling her, before riding up and threatening her with an axe (pictured: Ms Wakeley's Porsche)

The thieves let the tyres of her car down, stalling her, before riding up and threatening her with an axe (pictured: Ms Wakeley’s Porsche)

Miss Wakeley’s tyres had been repeatedly deflated over the preceding days, indicating the pre-planned nature of the attack, prosecutor Diana Wilson told the court. 

The pair were caught after police traced a BMW driven to the scene and saw Walsh driving it on the same day as the robbery.

At the time of the attack, her partner Hugh Morrison posted online: ‘Urgent, Amanda Wakeley was mugged this morning for her watch as she was getting into her car.

‘The moped assailants had earlier let down her tyres to make her stop to investigate and came up behind her, threatening her with an axe.

‘She is unhurt but naturally shocked.

‘The police have been amazing but say that this happens 5-6 times every day in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and have asked us to share this.

‘There are a lot of witnesses and the police feel that the culprits will be caught.

‘In the meantime, Amanda just wants to share her experience and hopes that everyone stays safe.’

Andrew Caird, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: ‘This was a targeted and terrifying robbery in broad daylight. 

One defendant was wielding an axe at the victim and the other put her into a headlock before snatching the Rolex watch off her and fleeing. 

The prosecution case included strong CCTV and telephone evidence which included images of the same Rolex watch that was stolen from the victim, on Walsh’s phone.’

Witnesses who rushed to the designer’s aid said she was left quivering on the ground after the attack.

The Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex are both big fans of Ms Wakeley's designs and have repeatedly warn them to formal occasions

The Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex are both big fans of Ms Wakeley's designs and have repeatedly warn them to formal occasions

The Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex are both big fans of Ms Wakeley's designs and have repeatedly warn them to formal occasions

The Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex are both big fans of Ms Wakeley's designs and have repeatedly warn them to formal occasions

The Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex are both big fans of Ms Wakeley’s designs and have repeatedly warn them to formal occasions 

Lucy Daniels, defending Murphy, said he planned to use the stolen watch to settle a drugs debt and had been told specifically to target Miss Wakeley. 

Murphy was jailed for six years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and having an offensive weapon, and Walsh was given four years and nine months after admitting his role in the robbery.

Judge Simon Davis, who sentenced the duo on Thursday, described the heist as a ‘carefully planned and organised robbery’.

Miss Wakeley added: ‘I am so grateful to the police for all they did in finding these men who mugged and stalked me. 

‘The fact that two of them are behind bars in good news. I also sincerely hope they find and jail the third attacker.’

The designer with no formal training who made her name with Princess Diana’s ‘powersuits’

Amanda Wakeley, pictured this summer

Amanda Wakeley, pictured this summer

Amanda Wakeley, pictured this summer

Amanda Wakeley was brought up in Chester, the daughter of a prominent surgeon, Sir John Wakeley.

She has never had any formal training, but from her earliest childhood she was raiding her dressing-up box and altering the contents.

At her boarding school, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, she made extra money by running up clothes for her friends, and her first job, at 16, was working in a designer menswear boutique in Chester.

She began her own design career with a made-to-order collection, which she ran up in her Chelsea studio: ‘There was no great financial backing, just a collection of samples,’ she later said.

Nevertheless, her elegant styles soon brought her to the attention of Princess Diana.

The princess’s patronage made Amanda’s name, and famously, when Diana resigned from public life in 1993, she did so wearing a bottle-green Wakeley suit.

Amanda’s future should have been assured; unfortunately, she had her own marital difficulties to contend with.

By 1998, her marriage to Australian property developer Neil Gillon had ended – but his involvement in her business had not.

Two years later he sold his majority stake to Richard Caring, with Amanda staying on as creative director.

After five years, in 2005, Caring in turn sold the brand on to Saudi billionaire Walid Juffali.

And in 2008, Juffali sold it to the former City trader Jason Granite. Less than a week later, Amanda resigned.

Princess Diana in Amanda Wakeley in 1993

Princess Diana in Amanda Wakeley in 1993

the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011

the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011

Princess Diana in Amanda Wakeley in 1993 and the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011

Fortunately, by this stage, Amanda had already fallen in love with Hugh Morrison, a strategic business advisor.

Amanda credits Hugh with the fact that just a month after she lost her eponymous business, a deal had been engineered for her to regain control.

By April 2009, Amanda was back in the driving seat as owner and creative director.

She had not looked back since, with stars such as Scarlett Johansson, Kate Winslet and Angelina Jolie having shimmered down the red carpet in Amanda’s liquid silks.

The Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Rania of Jordan have also worn her label for formal engagements and innumerable brides have chosen to wear Wakeley up the aisle.

More recently, she has changed direction somewhat from purveyor of evening-wear to luxury lifestyle brand and has begun to attract an edgier sort of customer, including Nicole Scherzinger and J-Lo, who wore head-to-toe Wakeley the 2015’s Golden Globes.

 Previously published in You Magazine.

Advertisement

link

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply