Two men who targeted one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite fashion designers in a terrifying axepoint robbery, in which her £30,000 watch was stolen, have been jailed for more than ten years.
Amanda Wakeley, the British fashion designer who has supplied evening dresses to countless celebrities and royals, was mugged near Chelsea Harbour, west London on the morning of November 13 after two men approached on a moped.
They let the tyres of her car down, stalling her, before holding an axe against her neck, putting her in a headlock and forcing her to the ground.
British fashion designer Amanda Wakeley, pictured with her partner Hugh Morrison, was mugged of her watch by robbers on a moped
Connor Murphy, pictured left, and Richard Walsh, pictured right, were jailed for more than ten years at Isleworth Crown Court
While Ms Wakeley, 57, did not suffer any serious physical injury, the thieves took her Rolex Daytona, which has still not been recovered six months on, and fled the scene, as members of the public rushed to help her.
Ms Wakeley offered to hand over her watch to stop the attack, and had to unclip it as the thief was struggling to wrestle it from her wrist, according to the Evening Standard.
Judge Simon Davis described it as a ‘carefully planned and organised robbery’ with the ‘hallmarks of some professionalism’, the paper reports, with one member of the gang having researched the value of the jewellery online prior to the ambush.
Connor Murphy, 26, of Salters Road, W10, was jailed for six years and nine months yesterday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery at Isleworth Crown Court.
Richard Walsh, 29, of Ashburnham Road, Chelsea, was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison after admitting encouraging and assisting a robbery.
Mark Toth, 35, who has links to the Ladbroke Grove area of Kensington and Chelsea is still being hunted by police in connection with the incident. He should not be approached, officers warned.
The 57-year-old managed to get this photo of the robbers making off after the mugging
Her partner Hugh Morrison posted this message online after the incident in November
The thieves let the tyres of her car down, stalling her, before riding up and threatening her with an axe (pictured: Ms Wakeley’s Porsche)
At the time of the attack, her partner Hugh Morrison posted online: ‘Urgent, Amanda Wakeley was mugged this morning for her watch as she was getting into her car.
‘The moped assailants had earlier let down her tyres to make her stop to investigate and came up behind her, threatening her with an axe.
‘She is unhurt but naturally shocked.
‘The police have been amazing but say that this happens 5-6 times every day in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and have asked us to share this.
‘There are a lot of witnesses and the police feel that the culprits will be caught.
‘In the meantime, Amanda just wants to share her experience and hopes that everyone stays safe.’
The Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex are both big fans of Ms Wakeley’s designs and have repeatedly warn them to formal occasions
Stand-up comic Michael McIntyre and Arsenal footballer Mesut Özil have also fallen victim to moped criminals in the last two years.
Detective Sergeant Chris Taylor, said: ‘This was a terrifying robbery which happened on what was a normal morning. We quickly identified those involved, and this has resulted in two convictions.
‘However, there is one outstanding suspect and we are appealing for the public’s help to locate him.
‘We would like to thank the victim for her cooperation during the investigation, and acknowledge her courage and bravery.’
If you have any information regarding his whereabouts then please call 020 7321 7581, or 101 quoting CAD 1848/13Nov19.
The designer with no formal training who made her name with Princess Diana’s ‘powersuits’
Amanda Wakeley, pictured this summer
Amanda Wakeley was brought up in Chester, the daughter of a prominent surgeon, Sir John Wakeley.
She has never had any formal training, but from her earliest childhood she was raiding her dressing-up box and altering the contents.
At her boarding school, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, she made extra money by running up clothes for her friends, and her first job, at 16, was working in a designer menswear boutique in Chester.
She began her own design career with a made-to-order collection, which she ran up in her Chelsea studio: ‘There was no great financial backing, just a collection of samples,’ she later said.
Nevertheless, her elegant styles soon brought her to the attention of Princess Diana.
The princess’s patronage made Amanda’s name, and famously, when Diana resigned from public life in 1993, she did so wearing a bottle-green Wakeley suit.
Amanda’s future should have been assured; unfortunately, she had her own marital difficulties to contend with.
By 1998, her marriage to Australian property developer Neil Gillon had ended – but his involvement in her business had not.
Two years later he sold his majority stake to Richard Caring, with Amanda staying on as creative director.
After five years, in 2005, Caring in turn sold the brand on to Saudi billionaire Walid Juffali.
And in 2008, Juffali sold it to the former City trader Jason Granite. Less than a week later, Amanda resigned.
Princess Diana in Amanda Wakeley in 1993 and the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011
Fortunately, by this stage, Amanda had already fallen in love with Hugh Morrison, a strategic business advisor.
Amanda credits Hugh with the fact that just a month after she lost her eponymous business, a deal had been engineered for her to regain control.
By April 2009, Amanda was back in the driving seat as owner and creative director.
She had not looked back since, with stars such as Scarlett Johansson, Kate Winslet and Angelina Jolie having shimmered down the red carpet in Amanda’s liquid silks.
The Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Rania of Jordan have also worn her label for formal engagements and innumerable brides have chosen to wear Wakeley up the aisle.
More recently, she has changed direction somewhat from purveyor of evening-wear to luxury lifestyle brand and has begun to attract an edgier sort of customer, including Nicole Scherzinger and J-Lo, who wore head-to-toe Wakeley the 2015’s Golden Globes.
Previously published in You Magazine.