An American tourist, his father and a female friend became the victims of a shocking and violent assault in Chelsea, London. The group were targeted by an armed gang who used stun guns and knives in a robbery attempt to steal the tourist’s luxury £100,000 Rolex watch.
CCTV footage of the incident, which took place in mid-November 2021, shows the thugs approaching and cornering the victims as they were crossing Pavilion Road just after midnight. The attackers, all dressed in black and wearing balaclavas, pushed the first victim to the ground and hit him with a stun gun before surrounding him and demanding he hand over his watch. The tourist’s father tried to intervene but was threatened with a knife, which cut through his coat but did not cause any injury. The female friend was also threatened with a stun gun and forced to hand over her £200 watch.
The suspects then fled the scene in a waiting getaway car. The attack was captured on several CCTV cameras and mobile phones, but the gang could not be identified due to the masks they were wearing. They also used a stolen Jaguar F-PACE with false plates, which made it difficult to track them down.
The investigation was led by a joint probe by the Met’s Flying Squad and Westminster Robbery Squad. The attackers were later traced, and all pleaded guilty at Isleworth Crown Court. Thomas Lenaghan, 23, and 20-year-old Ronnie Fitzgerald both admitted to conspiracy to rob, threatening a person with a bladed article in a public place, possession of a stun gun and threatening a person with a stun gun. John Stovell, 50, admitted to handling stolen goods and assisting an offender.
Detective Constable Robert Rodak, who worked on the case, described the incident as “a shocking and violent robbery which understandably left the victims shaken.” The attackers were sentenced to prison on Tuesday. Lenaghan, of Rylston Road, Fulham, and Fitzgerald, of Valence Avenue, Romford, were both sentenced to six years, nine months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to rob,threatening a person with a bladed article in a public place, possession of a stun gun and threatening a person with a stun gun.
The attack on the American tourist and his companions is a reminder of the need for increased caution and awareness in public areas, especially at night. The use of stun guns and knives as weapons in this robbery is particularly concerning and highlights the ruthless nature of such criminal activities. The victims in this case were left shaken and traumatized by the incident, and it serves as a warning to others to be vigilant and take precautions to protect themselves and their belongings.