Nuttall, Broddle (artist's impression), Jeavons and Sutcliffe. It was more fun when Tom Cruise did it.
A businessman with a “deep-seated grudge” against a barrister planted fake bombs around Gray’s Inn to intimidate him, a court has been told.
Jonathan Nuttall “targeted” Andrew Sutcliffe KC because in 2015 the barrister conducted legal proceedings against him on behalf of the National Crime Agency, say prosecutors. The case resulted in assets worth £1m being seized from Nuttall’s wife in 2019.
Sutcliffe’s involvement and that of his colleague Anne Jeavons allegedly grated with Nuttall so much that he arranged for an accomplice, Michael Broddle, to conduct surveillance on the barrister for six months in 2021, culminating in Broddle and his two sons planting a pair of mock bombs in Gray’s Inn as part of a "bold and targeted strike" in September 2021.
The first device was discovered by a porter who noticed that something inside an A5 envelope bearing Sutcliffe’s name was vibrating.
A second envelope was discovered outside 3 Verulam Buildings, where a receptionist spotted a masked man in black entering the building before she heard a ‘thump’ and saw smoke coming out from under a door.
The devices and smoke grenade attack resulted in building evacuations and road closures as police cordoned off the area and investigated, reported the Law Gazette.
When explosives officers opened them up, the first package was found to contain items including fun snaps and a nose trimmer, while the second contained an undetonated smoke grenade, a baggie of crystalline powder, ball bearings, more fun snaps, nails, tacks, shrapnel, and an electronic thermometer.
One of the envelopes also contained a note which referred to Sutcliffe by an old nickname, 'Sooty', that he said was in use about 40 years ago, and made an “extremely serious, scandalous and false allegation” calculated to cause “maximum humiliation” to the barrister.
Broddle has admitted planting the packages, but his sons, along with Nuttall and Nuttall’s driver, have all denied being involved in the plot, and have pleaded not guilty to all charges.