Brothers Jailed For Selfridges Raid

Two brothers have been jailed for their roles in a "professionally planned and executed" million-pound armed raid at Selfridges.

Sam Curtin and Connor Groake admitted conspiracy to rob and aggravated vehicle taking at the famous department store in Oxford Street, London, on June 6.

Curtin, 24, appeared at Kingston Crown Court on crutches having broken his leg in a crash on one of the getaway vehicles, a Vespa moped.

His co-accused, Groake, 19, was driving the vehicle, the court heard.

The duo, from Islington, were part of the smash-and-grab attack, in which five men dressed in burkas made off with almost £1.5 million of luxury watches.

Members of the group used axes and sledgehammers to smash glass cabinets then filled holdalls with the watches.

Horrified shoppers looked on as the gang met accomplices outside with getaway vehicles, before Curtin and Groake were caught moments later.

Sentencing the two defendants, Judge Nicholas Price QC said the raid had been carried out with "remorseless efficiency" and ordered Curtin to serve an extended sentence for the public's protection.

Groake was jailed for a total of eight years and nine months, while Curtin was given a 10 year prison sentence with an extension period of three years.

"This had all the hallmarks of a professionally planned commercial robbery," the judge said.

"It is a matter of regret that you two are the only ones apprehended. I have no doubt the police investigation will continue.

"It was chilling to see how those robbers carried out that robbery with such remorseless efficiency."

Mohamed Hussein, a restaurant worker who chased and apprehended Groake before police arrived, was praised by the judge for his actions and awarded £500 as compensation.

Commending Mr Hussein, Judge Price said: "His actions showed a considerable amount of bravery and a considerable amount of public awareness and he deserves our congratulations."

Prosecutor Stephen Apted told the court that six men marched into Selfridges dressed in burkas at about 8.30pm.

One of the men fled soon after entering because he was having difficulty with his disguise while the remaining five continued to the store's Wonder Room, which sells items from high-end brands including Gucci, Rolex and Tiffany.

Witnesses heard a member of the group shout, "come on boys, get them all, get every one," before they began smashing display cabinets and taking scores of watches.

The ferocity of the attack and the "iconic status" of Selfridges meant shoppers and staff feared the raid was a "terror-related incident", Mr Apted said.

Some workers who witnessed the robbery hid in cupboards fearing for their lives and were offered counselling after the incident, the court heard.

In total, 142 watches worth £1.4 million were stolen, of which 101 remain unaccounted for, the hearing was told.

A further 216 watches were damaged with an estimated cost of repair at between £45-65,000.

The group fled using a BMW car, two motorcycles and a moped, the court heard.

Moments later, Groake, who was driving the moped, and Curtin, who was a passenger on the vehicle, crashed at the junction of Goodge Street.

Groake ran off shouting "help my wife" and pointing to Curtin who was unable to escape after suffering severely broken leg, the court heard.

Mr Hussein ran after Groake after spotting the stolen watches, and managed to detain him with help from members of the public until the police arrived.

Curtin, who was helped by a group of off-duty doctors until an ambulance crew arrived, called his mother with a passer-by's phone, telling her "I'm sorry mum, please forgive me", Mr Apted said.

The court heard Curtin had previously been jailed for two separate failed smash-and-grab raid attempts in London in March and April 2009. He was released in November last year.

Groake, who had 17 previous convictions for 32 offences, was given a nine-month suspended sentence in November for offences including handing stolen goods, which will now run consecutively to his eight-year sentence for the Selfridges raid.

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