Gardener pursued Leonardo da Vinci raiders
A court has heard how a gardener ran to challenge raiders making off with a masterpiece from a Scottish castle.
John Chrystie, 50, was weeding in the grounds of the Drumlanrig estate when he saw three men with Leonardo da Vinci's the Madonna of the Yarnwinder.
He set off after them until one of them produced a small axe to scare him off.
Five men are on trial in Edinburgh accused of trying to extort £4.25m for the painting's return. They are not charged with the 2003 robbery.
Mr Chrystie, who had worked for the Duke of Buccleuch in south west Scotland for 20 years, said he heard "banging and then alarm bells" on the day of the raid.
He told the High Court in Edinburgh he then saw a man wearing a white sombrero-type hat carrying something square.
The gardener said that from the colours he recognised it as the Leonardo da Vinci painting.
"When I realised what was happening I was going to have a go at one of them and he pulled an axe from his jacket, a small hand axe," he said.
"I veered off and just ran up the banking."
The jury at the trial has also been hearing a taped recording of a meeting involving the defendants in the extortion case.
It took place at Glasgow law offices where two of them were solicitors.
Prosecutors are presenting it as evidence of a conspiracy to extort £4.25m for the safe return of the stolen painting.
Marshall Ronald, 53, Robert Graham, 57, and John Doyle, 61, all from Lancashire, Calum Jones, 45, from Renfrewshire, and David Boyce, 63, from Lanarkshire, deny the charges against them.
They pled not guilty to conspiring to extort £4.25m and an alternative charge of attempted extortion.
The offence is alleged to have taken place between July and October 2007.
The trial, before Lady Dorrian, continues.
Art Hostage Comments:
This is what will happen to anyone, I repeat anyone, who tries to either pass information, or hand back any stolen art, unless of course you are ex-police officers like Mick Lawrence and Jurek Rokoszynski (Rocky) who recovered the stolen Turners and were paid £500,000 of the £3.5 million paid to Edgar Liebrucks the German Lawyer, who in turn paid Stevo V the original organiser of the Turner theft.
Turner article here:
Another high profile stolen art recovery was the Titian stolen from Longleat House, home of the Marquis of Bath.
Charlie Hill, yes you've guessed it, another ex-police officer, paid David Dudden £15,000 deposit, which Charlie Hill obtained from the Marquis of Bath, then the Titian was recovered at a bus stop in London, followed by another payment made by Charlie Hill to David Dudden of £85,000 to finalise the transaction.
Titian article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/aug/23/arttheft.arts
Being an ex-policeman allows all sorts of things to happen !!!!!!
Those who may have information about the Gardner art stolen from the Gardner Museum Boston, 1990, take note, this is your fate, the same as the Da Vinci Madonna defendants facing criminal trial, if you so much as offer any slight indication you have credible information.
Anthony Amore has the FBI, Geoff Kelly in particular, on speed dial ready for the time when Anthony Amore receives credible information.
Interesting to note, a Lawyer in the Boston area was approached in the not too distant past and asked for their opinion about handing back the stolen Gardner art.
This lawyer, unlike the Da Vinci Madonna lawyers, said, and I quote:
"Until the Gardner Museum firm up their reward offer, the FBI agree to step aside and Immunity agreements are issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office, do nothing, say nothing and realise the Gardner art is radioactive"
Smart lawyer !!!!!!!!!