Welsh biotechnology entrepreneur Sir Christopher Evans was not at home during the raid on his 30-room mansion in the Cotswolds
A gang burgled the home of one of the UK’s richest men and snatched his wife’s £1million jewellery collection, along with priceless vases and Chanel and Gucci handbags.
Welsh biotechnology entrepreneur Sir Christopher Evans, 60, was not at home during the raid on his 30-room mansion in Bibury in the Cotswolds, but his wife and son were.
Sir Christopher, who is the son of a steelworker and who has an OBE, is worth £158million and was placed at 364 on the 2006 Sunday Times Rich List.
Dressed in hoods and balaclavas while wearing surgical gloves, the burglars grabbed jewellery, silver and ceramics worth £1million and stuffed them into log baskets and loaded them into a dark Audi S5.
Lady Anne Evans, his wife of nearly 40 years, and their son Calum, 20, were both in the house at the time of the raid on Monday evening, but only became aware of the men when Lady Anne took her dog Scooter for a walk.
Lady Anne had her entire jewellery collection snatched during the audacious raid and she is now appealing for help to catch the perpetrators.
She said: ‘They have wiped out my entire jewellery collection. It’s serious money. There were hundreds of items and a lot of them were unbelievably special.
Sir Christopher Evans and his wife Lady Ann are pictured right at a restaurant with friends
‘Me and my son were in the house at the time. We were so lucky we didn’t come across them, these guys were prepared’, said Lady Ann Evans
‘Me and my son were in the house at the time. We were so lucky we didn’t come across them, these guys were prepared. I feel so devastated and violated.’
Handbags by Chanel and Gucci were taken, along with a pair of Wedgwood Fairyland vases, and a pear-shaped diamond ring from Boodle and Dunthorpe.
Lady Anne added: ‘Someone must have seen something. Our house is adjacent to the road which runs through Bibury, opposite The Square.
‘We believe they have headed off through the village towards Swindon. Anyone who is offered any of the items will know as they are very recognisable.
‘It’s just the most appalling thing. We have had absolutely no sleep since and just want the police to catch who did this.’
Lady Anne Evans, Sir Christopher’s wife of nearly 40 years, and their son Calum, 20, were both in the house at the time of the raid on Monday evening. Pictured: The estate
Their daughter Rhianna, 24, said: ‘My mum is absolutely inconsolable. If they are doing something as large scale as this I dread to think what they would have done had they encountered someone.
‘The one good thing is thankfully nothing more sinister happened.’
A Gloucestershire Constabulary spokesman said they are investigating the high-value crime.
‘We were called at 10.05pm on July 9 to reports of a burglary at a property in Bibury.
‘Offenders are thought to have entered the house at some point between 5pm and 8pm before conducting a search and leaving with items including jewellery.
‘A dark coloured Audi S5 with four male occupants was seen in the area around the time of the burglary.
‘The vehicle made off at speed in the direction of Cirencester.’
The Evans’ house is a 30-room, 1840s Gothic house designed by English architect Anthony Salvin. It was listed as being worth £3million in 2000.
Speaking about the home in 2010, Christopher said: ‘This has to be a home where my wife and kids and I can be really happy.
‘For me to be really happy I have to be working on scientific things all the time and so all the set-ups, brainstorms, celebrations and firings happen here.
‘All that has to be done separate from the family. I think I’ve got the layout right because I can drift in between the two worlds.’
WHO IS MILLIONAIRE WELSH BIOTECH ENTREPRENEUR SIR CHRISTOPHER EVANS?
Sir Christopher Evans OBE
Christopher Thomas Evans was born in November 1957 in Port Talbot.
He studied microbiology at Imperial College London before getting his PhD from the University of Hull.
After this he began a research fellowship at the University of Michigan.
In 1996 he founded Merlin Biosciences which manages investments in the biotechnology industry.
Chiroscience was founded by Sir Chris with just £1million in 1992 and it grew to £600m by 1997 before merging with Celltech plc, which in turn has merged with UCB to create one of Europe’s flagship bioscience enterprises.
He later set up Arthurian Ltd, which successfully bid to run the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund, a £100 million 50/50 joint venture life sciences investment fund created to attract business to Wales.
The fund has invested in and provided grants to ReNeuron, in which Evans has also invested.
He was awarded his OBE in 1995 and knighted in 2001. He was appointed a Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2005.
In March of that year, he was appointed by Gordon Brown to the UK Stem Cell Initiative.
He has a wife and four children. In a profile he was once described as: ‘energetic, brash and extremely rich’.
In a piece he wrote for WalesOnline, he said: ‘I have worked extremely hard. I used my hands and my brain and created my own luck in this world.
‘My life is medical science; I have built over £5 billion of companies, employed over 4,000 scientists working on some 200 medical products, investing billions in research into medicines, raised over £1 billion cash for cancer research programmes, floated 21 companies on 6 stock markets round the world and returned billions in profits to the bold investors who backed my ideas and businesses.
‘And, all of this science started when my dad, a Port Talbot steel worker, bought me a chemistry set for Christmas when I was 7 years old. As I grew into a teenager, I stopped killing tadpoles in tubes and made quite sophisticated fireworks instead – from scratch.’