'What are the chances?': Barristers make last case on whether two men masterminded Northampton jewellers' ram-raid robbery

A defence barrister says the case against a father and son charged with masterminding an armed robbery on a Northampton town centre jewellers is based on "assumptions and theories".

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 7:54 am
The prosecution case against the Burtons has been called 'circumstantial' - but the prosecutor claims it points "squarely" at the two men.

The trial of two men accused of plotting a crash-and-grab robbery on the Michael Jones Jewellers in December last year is drawing to a close.

The shocking attack was witnessed by dozens of eyewitnesses who could only watch as a BMW rammed into the luxury shop on Gold Street before five armed men piled in to steal fistfuls of Rolex watches.

The men then made an escape using three seperate, prepared cars that had been stolen in the weeks before and were set on fire after the getaway.

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Five men ram-raided the Gold Street store, stole armfuls of high-end watches and escaped in a series of getaway cars.

Now, a father and son - Elliot Burton, 50, and Connor Burton, 27, both from Birmingham - are on trial for "scouting" the Northampton store and helping to plot the raid for their own gain.The basis of the prosecution's case is how both men were seen on CCTV looking through Michael Jones' windows a week before the robbery, and allegedly visited several other jewellers across the country based on the movements of their mobile phones.

Elliot Burton's DNA was also found on an axe recovered from one of cars used in the attack.

The Burtons deny any involvement and say the mobile numbers that were registered as travelling between the jewellers are not theirs.

At Northampton Crown Court today (December 18), Burton Snr's defence barrister, Mr Harbinder Lally, accused the prosecution of building their case on 'crumbling foundations', and told the jury they couldn't be sure of the two men's guilt.

Two men are on trial for allegedly plotting the armed robbery on Michael Jones' Jewellers in December 2018.

He told the court: "The prosecution's case is based upon assumptions and theories. They have worked backwards to fit the facts to the theories.

"The prosecution says they visited these jewellers on 'recce' missions. It's not possible they were window shopping.

"In order to convict these two men you have to be sure. If there any possible explanation that plausible, then you are obliged to say 'we cannot be sure.

"You just cannot be sure."

The ram-raid in Northampton reportedly comes after a similar attack against a jewellers in Swindon - allegedly also planned by the Burtons - was foiled in mid-November.

Prosecutor Mr Andrew Peet admitted in his opening speech that his case was based on "circumstantial evidence" - but claims it all "squarely" points at the Burtons.

Prosecutor Mr Andrew Peet told the jury: "What are the chances that all the stolen cars used in the robbery were taken 10 miles from these mens' addresses in Birmingham?

"What are the chances of both men being seen on a 'recce' to Northampton a week before it was robbed?"What are the chances of Elliot Burton's [alleged] phone travelling to both Swindon and Northampton, the site of the planned robberies?"

The jury is expected to be sent out to deliberate before the end of this week.