Portland Timbers

Girlfriend who helped robbery gang steal Portland Tiara spared jail

The girlfriend of a gang member who stole the famous Portland Tiara and other precious jewelery in a £3.75m haul during has been spared prison today - even though the royal treasure has never been recovered. 

Kelly Duong, 35, provided her boyfriend Ashley Cumberpatch, and his gang with vital intelligence of the tiara and other priceless items after carrying out a reconnaissance mission on the gallery where they were kept.

Cumberpatch as well as accomplices Andrew McDonald, 44, and Kurtis Dilks, 37 were jailed last year for the devastating expert raid with Dilks also being convicted of a terrifying robbery on England footballer Ashley Cole. 

Dilks was part of a gang that attacked the former Chelsea and England defender was  in his home in Fetcham, Surrey and threatened to cut his fingers of. 

Nottingham Crown Court heard how Cumberpatch, McDonald and Dilks drove across a field to a fence bordering Harley Gallery in Worksop, Notts., where the tiara were kept on November 20, 2018.

Kelly Duong has escaped jail for her part in the expert raid of the Portland Tiara

The Portland Tiara was stolen by three raiders who used specialist diamond cutter tools from the Welbeck Estate in 2021

CCTV footage showed the three men carrying power tools before they managed to successfully break into the gallery and make off with the prized tiara and a broach

CCTV footage showed the three men carrying power tools before they managed to successfully break into the gallery and make off with the prized tiara and a broach.

The items have yet to be found, with Judge James Sampson describing the theft as a 'significant loss to the nation'.

The court also heard how Duong had participated in a reconnaissance mission with her family where she wore a Go-Pro to film not only the diamonds but various points of entry.

In the footage she can be heard attempting to disguise the video as a family trip out, saying: 'I am going to look around and film the sheep so it looks like I'm filming everything.'

Today  Duong was handed a two-year jail term, suspended for 21 months, and ordered to take part in 20 rehabilitation sessions.

Describing the theft, prosecutor Henry James said how the gang had pulled off a 'highly-organised attack' and that this was an attack on the 'country's heritage'.

Prosecutor James said: 'Stolen during the event were two pieces of diamond jewellery with a combined value of £3.75 million.

'The tiara was made up of older stones, the Portland diamond, and smaller stones dating back to the 17th century.

'These were the trophy pieces of the gallery's exhibition. They had been on display there since 2016 for the joy of the public.

'Mr Cumberpatch was a partner of Miss Duong, they attended the exhibition of the gallery in 2017 and recorded their experience of a GoPro camera. 

'That captured all of the details about not only the diamonds but also the outside of the property including points of entry and various ways the burglary could be committed. In it she can be heard saying 'I am going to look around and film the sheep so it looks like I'm filming everything.'

'The burglary itself was a highly precise and well organised attack. The day of it there were rehearsed phone calls.

'A vehicle drove to a nearby fence line of the gallery. Audi RS5. Three people exited the car and immediately began an attack.

'Each was carrying in his hand power tools used to gain entrance to the gallery, vault and display case. Once inside the property the movement of the three men was followed on CCTV. It was a highly efficient operation.'

Kurtis Dilks was also being convicted of a terrifying robbery on England footballer Ashley Cole (Pitcured: Ashley Cole and Sharon Canu)

The Cartier-designed tiara was worn by Winifred Cavendish-Bentinck, Duchess of Portland (1863-1954) at the 1902 coronation of King Edward VII

Mr James added: 'This was a heinous attack on the country's heritage and her basis of plea is that she was unaware of the what was taken until she saw the headlines in the newspapers.'

Defending Saleem Mahmood said that Duong's role was limited to a simple reconnaissance mission.

The Portland Tiara is considered one of the 'great historic tiaras of Great Britain' after the Duke of Portland commissioned jewelers Cartier to make it in 1902.

The 6th Duke of Portland commissioned Cartier to create the Portland Tiara for his wife, Winifred, Duchess of Portland.

She wore it to the 1902 coronation of King Edward VII. The Duchess was one of four pall-bearers at Queen Alexandra's anointing.

The centre-piece of the tiara is the Portland Diamond, which dates from the 19th century.

It is flanked by two diamond drops and other pendant diamonds, all set in gold and silver.

The brooch is composed of diamond clusters that previously stood at the apex of the tiara.

Miss Mahmood said: 'I respectfully submit that given her offer on an agreed basis of the plea that she should be given a 10% reduction.

'Her role is limited to reconnaissance. Miss Duong does have an element of impressionability within her character. She was in a relationship where she was influenced, if not physically then mentally and emotionally by her previous partner Ashley Cumberpatch.

'Miss Duong would not have been involved in this offence if it were not for Mr Cumberpatch.

'She asks the court to be merciful and think of the impacts on her children.'

Dressed all in black, Duong hugged her emotional family members after her suspended sentence verdict.

In his sentencing remarks, Judge James Sampson claimed Duong's actions had a considerable impact on the nation.

He said: 'You were in a long term relationship with Ashley Cumberpatch. A highly dangerous career criminal who is now serving a lengthy extended sentence for his involvement principally in other offences but also this.

'You knew about his character. You did so willingly. Even to the extent of using your children as cover when you and he masqueraded as day trippers to the Harley gallery while he was casing it.

'On your basis of plea that was your extent of your involvement and indeed the last time you were involved in any criminal activity whatsoever.

'You have since served a custodial sentence in relation to another matter. They both reflect your willingness to do Ashley Cumberpatch's bidding.

'The relationship has been described a relative of yours as toxic. I hope it is over.

'The psychological report imply you were a weak individual and manipulated by Cumperbatch

'It is unlikely that you would offend in your own right. It is clear that you have childcare responsibilities.

'There was here significant planning. The loss to the nation has been significant. The diamonds will never been recovered.

'Although your role was limited and this offending occurred in 2017 such is the unique nature of this offence, the starting point has to be in the highest category.

'In my view on your basis had you been convicted by a jury the sentence would have been in the order of 2.5 years.

'Two years imprisonment. There are a number of questions a judge has to ask themselves in that regard. Is there a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.

'There is strong personal mitigation. I accept that you were heavily influenced by him and would not be before the court if it were for him.

'You have two children, you have already served a custodial sentence during their short lives.

'A further custodial sentence would have a devastating impact on your children.

'I am just prepared to suspend the sentence, two years imprisonment, suspended for 21 months.

'You can think yourself very lucky indeed.'

To continue reading please choose to download our free app, or visit the original website.

League Table

Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Collection {#1878 // resources/views/components/league-table.blade.php
  #items: []
  #escapeWhenCastingToString: false