Two robbers who threatened a US tourist with a stun gun and snatched his £100,000 Rolex have been jailed after a parking permit for a local school was spotted on their stolen getaway car’s windshield.
The American father and son and a female friend were crossing Pavilion Road in Chelsea when they were approached by the gang, dressed in black and wearing balaclavas.
Shocking CCTV footage shows the moment one of the victims, aged 31, was hit from behind by a stun gun and falls to the ground. He wildly kicks his legs to keep the thieves at bay as his father steps in to try and protect him.
But the robbers close in and scream at the victim to hand over his luxury Rolex.
They slash at his father with a knife cutting through his coat as he tries to distract them.
Their friend was also threatened with a stun gun and forced to hand over her watch, worth around £200, before the robbers sped off in their getaway car.
The Jaguar F-PACE used by the robbers was stolen and displaying false plates, but detectives from the Met’s Flying Squad painstakingly analysed the footage and managed to see that the car had a small sticker on the bottom right corner of its windshield.
This allowed them to narrow it down and ask the owner of the stolen car if their vehicle had any identifying stickers.
He told officers that their car had a parking permit for their child’s school – a description which matched the sticker seen on the car used in the robbery.
The “breakthrough moment” led them to trace where the car came from and capture footage of the robbers meeting without masks before the theft.
The photos of their faces were circulated and led to the identification of Thomas Lenaghan, 24, Ronnie Fitzgerald, 20, and John Stovell, 51.
Lenaghan and Fitzgerald were both sentenced to six years, nine months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to rob, threatening a person with a bladed article and threatening a person with a stun gun at Isleworth Crown Court on Tuesday.
John Stovell was jailed for 18 months having pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and assisting an offender.
DC Robert Rodak, who worked on the investigation, said: “This was a shocking and violent robbery which understandably left the victims shaken and feeling incredibly fortunate they did not suffer more serious injury.
“Everyone should be able to walk through our streets unaffected by this type of crime and that is why we are doing everything we can to take offenders like Lenaghan, Fitzgerald and Stovell off our streets.
“This conviction was a result of a joint effort where our local team was assisted by the specialist skills of the Flying Squad to catch those responsible. Working together we will continue to target and relentlessly pursue robbers who commit violent crime in London.”