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Partner of multimillion-pound tiara raid crook spared jail for ‘casing’ gallery

The former partner of a career criminal who helped him “case” an art gallery before the theft of a £3.75 million tiara and brooch has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Kelly Duong was spared an immediate jail term after a judge accepted she was heavily influenced by Ashley Cumberpatch, who was jailed for 24 years in 2022 for his part in a string of raids, including one in which former England footballer Ashley Cole was tied up.

Duong, 35, who admitted conspiracy to burgle at a previous hearing, was sentenced to a two-year jail sentence, suspended for 21 months, on Thursday at Nottingham Crown Court.

The court was told she was seen filming alongside Cumberpatch and others at the Harley Gallery on Worksop’s Welbeck Estate in 2017, a year before the theft of a £3.5 million tiara which was worn to the coronation of Edward VII.

Passing sentence, Judge James Sampson told Duong, who pleaded guilty on the basis she did not know which items would be taken, that she and Cumberpatch had “masqueraded” as innocent day-trippers during the gang’s surveillance of the gallery.

He told Duong: “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 for this offence.

“You knew about his character and his criminal activities and when he required you to become involved, you did so willingly.

“There was here significant planning – the loss to the nation has been significant. The diamonds (from the tiara) will never be recovered.”

The court heard Duong was on bail when she visited the gallery, having been arrested for possessing a shortened shotgun, related to a “willingness to do Cumberpatch’s bidding.”

She was later jailed for possessing the weapon, receiving an 18-month sentence in 2019.

Duong, formerly of an address in Nottingham’s Arboretum area, said through her barrister that her relationship with Cumberpatch is now over.

The Portland Tiara theft
The Portland Tiara, which was stolen in 2018 (Nottinghamshire Police/PA)

Judge Sampson told Duong: “That relationship has been described by a relative of yours as toxic.

“It is certain that he will not be able to live with you for many years. It is unlikely that you would offend in your own right.”

The judge added that there had been clear planning for the Harley Gallery break-in, but that Duong had played a limited role.

Explaining why he had decided to suspend the two-year jail term, Judge Sampson said: “I accept you were heavily influenced by him and would not be before the courts but for him.

“Are you a danger to the public? In the absence of Cumberpatch the answer must be no.”

A previous court hearing was told the 6th Duke of Portland commissioned Cartier to create the Portland Tiara for his wife Winifred, Duchess of Portland.

She wore the diamond-encrusted headpiece, whose centrepiece is the Portland Diamond, to the coronation of King Edward, Queen Elizabeth II’s great-grandfather, in 1902.