Nuttall, Broddle, Jeavons and Sutcliffe.
An obsessed businessman who intimidated two barristers with fake bombs has been jailed.
Jonathan Nuttall became fixated on Andrew Sutcliffe KC and Anne Jeavons in 2015 when they were instructed by the National Crime Agency to conduct legal proceedings against him and his wife, resulting in £1m in assets being seized from Mrs Nuttall.
The 50-year-old businessman masterminded a "bold and targeted strike" against the barristers which saw him use his driver, Micheal Sode, as a middleman to instruct an accomplice, Michael Broddle, to plant two suspicious envelopes at Grays Inn and detonate a smoke bomb.
The attack resulted in evacuations and road closures as police investigated.
When bomb disposal officers prised open the envelopes they found they had been filled with ball bearings, nails, tacks, shrapnel, an electronic thermometer, fun snaps, a nose trimmer, a bag of powder and a note making an “extremely serious, scandalous and false allegation” about Sutcliffe calculated to cause him “maximum humiliation”.
It was a “cruel, cowardly, and entirely misplaced” attempt to scare the lawyers off the case, said Jeavons, who described Nuttall as “dangerous and deserving of nothing but contempt".
The businessman “needed a target to focus his frustration and became obsessed with the idea that removing Mr Sutcliffe and I from the case was the solution”, she said in her victim impact statement, adding that she remained worried “about what future vengeful act he will pursue”.
Nuttall and his accomplices ultimately succeeded, said Sutcliffe, who resigned from the case due to the intimidation. “They have achieved what they set out to achieve – to disrupt the NCA proceedings. I am not aware of counsel ever being targeted in this mafioso-like way” in the UK, he said.
Mitigation fell flat when Nuttall’s lawyer said his client’s aim was not to disrupt the NCA proceedings “but to give those who were involved a taste of their own medicine”.
“Is that not aggravating [rather than] mitigating – to give them a taste of their own medicine?” asked the judge.
He told Nuttall, Broddle and Sode that their conspiracy to place what appeared to be improvised explosive devices near the barristers’ chambers “must be seen against a background of a concerted campaign to conduct surveillance” against the pair.
That surveillance climaxed in a “malicious, bold, and extremely serious attack” motivated by Nuttall’s “irrational and misplaced grudge”, he said.
Nuttall was convicted on charges including conspiring to place an article with the intention of inducing in another a belief that it was likely to explode and cause personal injury or damage to property. He was sentenced to eight years, Broddle to seven, and Sode to six years and two months.