F1 star Lando Norris was restrained in a headlock and robbed of his £144,000 designer watch at his sports car after Wembley’s Euro 2020 final, a court heard today.
The 23 year-old McLaren driver was held by one unknown male and the unique Richard Mille RM 67-02 watch – specifically designed for the racer – was violently ripped from his wrist by a second man.
Harrow Crown Court heard today that Liam Williams, 25, of Bootle, Merseyside, is accused of being the person who snatched the timepiece, leaving his DNA on the racing driver’s arm.
Williams has pleaded not guilty to one count of robbing Norris outside the stadium on July 11, 2021, following England’s defeat to Italy on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
Norris had driven his bright orange £165,000 McLaren GT sportscar from the Goodwood Festival of Speed to attend the final and parked in the Yellow car park.
Liam Williams, 25, of Bootle, Merseyside, is the man who is accused of snatching the watch
Lando Norris, F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 3, 2021 in Spielberg, Austria
In his statement of July 12 Norris told police he parked his McLaren in the VIP area, after travelling to the final with a friend called Max.
He returned to the sportscar at around midnight and posed for a photo with one fan and chatted to members of the public, milling around his distinctive vehicle.
‘After attending Wembley Stadium I was speaking to members of the public and noticed Suspect One and Suspect Two walk around my car, while I was talking to other people.
‘I noticed them looking at my car and myself and the first one was keeping his head down and had his right hand near his pocket.
Suspect One slowly approached me and asked me: ‘Is this your car?’ I don’t recall exactly what happened, but Suspect One then went behind me and put his right arm around my neck and his left arm under my back.
‘Suspect One pulled me into him and pulled me back on my neck, meaning I was facing the sky and I couldn’t see him at this point.
‘Suspect One told Suspect Two to grab my watch. He shouted multiple times: ‘Grab the watch.’
‘Suspect One was holding me the whole time and Suspect Two was trying to grab the watch.
The unique RM 67-02 watch – specifically designed for the racer – was taken in the robbery
‘He struggled for a while and then used force to pull the watch off, leaving scratches on my arm.
‘When Suspect One had his arm around my neck Suspect Two managed to get the watch off my left wrist and they ran through the pedestrian walkway to Rutherford Way.
‘From there I do not know where they went. My view was blocked.’
Recalling the details the racing driver added: ‘Suspect One was pretty close as he put his arm around my neck.
‘Suspect Two was ten feet way and I saw Suspect One for around ten seconds and the interaction was around thirty seconds, not very long.’
The racer gave a second interview on February 12, last year, confirming he did not know Williams and due to covid had no contact with strangers in the stadium.
Prosecutor Tyrone Silcott told the jury: ‘Some of you interested in football may recall that day, the day England lost the Euro final at Wembley.
Norris had driven his bright orange £165,000 McLaren GT sportscar and parked in the Yellow car park. Pictured: Lando Norris driving the (4) McLaren MCL60 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19
‘Mr Norris attended that game and when returning to his car after the match he was robbed of his watch by two men. The Crown’s case is that this defendant is one of those two men.
‘We all agree, both the Crown and defence that Mr Norris was robbed. We don’t have to decide if there was a robbery and there is no dispute two men stole his watch.
‘The case boils down to one question. Are you sure the defendant was one of those two robbers? If you are you will convict him.’
Giving more detail the prosecutor added: ‘He parked a nice bright orange McLaren motorsport vehicle and as he went back to his car he was speaking to members of the public.
‘He noticed two men walk around his car and one approached, asking: ‘Is this your car?’
‘He went behind Mr Norris and grabbed him. He put his right arm around his neck and his left arm behind his back and pulled Mr Norris backwards, causing him to look at the sky.
‘The one pulling him back called the accomplice to grab the watch and the other man pulled the watch from his wrist and as he did, scratched his left wrist.
Two swabs were taken from Mr Norris’s left wrist, which revealed it was 37 million times more likely Williams’ DNA was present than an unknown person. Pictured: Lando Norris celebrating in parc ferme on September 25, 2021
‘Mr Norris was able to describe one as a white male of average build, short hair aged mid twenties to thirties that he thought had a London accent.
‘This defendant does not have a London accent,’ added Mr Silcott. ‘He also described the first man as wearing a black hooded jacket and black trousers.
‘The second male was wearing grey clothing and he had a hood up and Mr Norris did not see this male, he was standing back and does not believe he would recognise this male again.’
CCTV recorded the incident. ‘You can see someone going behind the figure and pull them back, but there is no way you can make an identification from the CCTV.’
The watch was described as a prototype limited edition, with a made-to-measure blue strap, designed to fit the racing driver and has never been available to the retail public.
Two swabs were taken from Mr Norris’s left wrist, which revealed it was 37 million times more likely Williams’ DNA was present than an unknown person.
Analysis of his mobile phone also revealed a journey from Liverpool to the Wembley Stadium area on July 11, where he remained until the early hours of July 12 before returning home on July 13.
‘There is no sensible explanation for his DNA to be on that scratched wrist.’
At an identity line up the racing driver was unable to pick out Williams.
The trial continues, Williams denies robbery.
Pictured: Lando Norris preparing to drive in the garage prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023
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