Businessman guilty of conspiring to plant two bombs in London over £1.4m legal row

Jonathan Nuttall arriving at the Old Bailey Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A businessman suspected of being involved in an international money-laundering ring has been found guilty of orchestrating a bomb plot against lawyers for Britain’s FBI in a row over £1.4 million.

Jonathan Nuttall, 50, was convicted of conspiring with his driver, Michael Sode, and an ex-marine, Michael Broddle, to plant two devices in London’s legal district.

The four-month trial heard that Nuttall had been pursued by the National Crime Agency (NCA) over the seizure of assets worth £1.4 million.

He hatched a plot to target the NCA’s lawyers, Andrew Sutcliffe KC and Anne Jeavons, after becoming upset at the prospect of losing his stately home, Embley Manor in Romsey, Hampshire.

The court heard he used his driver Sode, 58, as a “middleman” to recruit former Royal Marine Broddle, 47, to carry out research and reconnaissance on the lawyers.

One of the devices planted in London’s legal district Credit: Met Police/PA

Broddle was accused of roping in his sons to help with the plan, which took place on September 14, 2021, when he planted two devices at Gray’s Inn in London, the heart of the English legal district.

An Old Bailey jury deliberated for 25 hours to convict Nuttall, Sode and Broddle of charges against them and acquit Broddle’s three sons of wrongdoing on Friday.

Following the verdicts, Commander Dominic Murphy of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command said: “Jonathan Nuttall orchestrated a chain of events in revenge against a barrister.

"He enlisted associates to wage a campaign of harassment and intimidation against the victim, culminating in the planting of explosive devices at the victim’s workplaces.

“Nuttall may have thought that paying others to carry out the crimes would ensure he was kept in the clear but specialist counter-terrorism investigators diligently trawled through numerous text messages, computer files, bank records and hours of CCTV footage to identify those involved and their specific roles – including Nuttall at the head of it all.”

The first device, left near a bench, was spotted by a porter and later found to be “potentially viable” as it contained a smoke grenade, jurors were told.

Another smoke grenade was let off with the second non-viable device near Mr Sutcliffe’s office with the intent to cause “maximum alarm”.

It came with a letter addressed to Mr Sutcliffe, using his old Army nickname “Sooty”, which contained false allegations against him.

Previously, Broddle had gone to the lawyers’ addresses and written a note threatening to rape Mr Sutcliffe’s daughter and dig up his infant son’s grave, although it appeared it was never sent.

Broddle, who was paid around £7,000 via Sode, was arrested two days after the devices were planted and police seized fireworks, gas canisters, a hat and wig and rubber face masks from his home.

A £100,000 Bentley Mulsanne that belonged to Jonathan Nuttall was recovered after an eight-year investigation by the National Crime Agency Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Before being arrested, Nuttall hid a mobile phone inside an office chair and Sode threw his phone out of a window, it was alleged.

Giving evidence in their trial, Mr Sutcliffe said he was “shocked” and “dumbfounded” when he found out what had happened.

Mrs Jeavons told jurors about the history of the financial wrangle with Nuttall, although his wife, Amanda Nuttall, who had won a lottery jackpot of £2.4 million, was named on the NCA legal papers.

She said payments to settle the £1.4 million order had been rejected by the NCA as possibly coming from the proceeds of crime, putting the Nuttalls’ mansion at risk.

She said Nuttall was unhappy about that and at one meeting made it clear “it would be a red line if the NCA sought to recover his home”.

Jurors heard that Nuttall also had a flat near Sloane Square in west London and a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce but neither was owned by him.

The legal proceedings started in 2011 and the original settlement dated back to 2019 and remains unresolved.

The NCA had claimed that assets held in the name of Mrs Nuttall and the associated corporate entities were funded from the proceeds of an international money-laundering network and mortgage fraud.

Nuttall’s defence lawyer stressed that the settlement was made on a “commercial basis without admitting the NCA was right about anything”.

Previously, Nuttall had been handed a 12-month conditional discharge for failing to pay a bond after his business was reclassified as high risk.

Jonathan Nuttall Credit: Met Police/PA

Giving evidence, Nuttall blamed his brother, Philip, for some of his financial woes and denied having anything to do with a plot against the NCA’s lawyers.

He told jurors of his wife’s “extraordinarily good fortune” in winning the lottery but said “regrettably” most of it went to pay off his brother’s gambling debts.

He denied concealing his mobile phone from police, saying he was using the bathroom when officers arrived at Embley Manor.

Sode denied wrongdoing and claimed he was involved in recovering debts from clients of an escort agency business.

Michael Broddle took responsibility for planting the devices but declined to name who he was working for.

He told jurors he would do anything for money but insisted he “had no problem with Mr Sutcliffe” and was simply “acting on instruction”.

His sons, Charlie Broddle, 19, Joshua Broddle, 21, and George Gray, 25, from Hounslow, west London denied any knowledge or involvement in what their father was doing and were cleared of wrongdoing.

Nuttall, and Sode, of Deptford, south-east London, were found guilty of two charges of conspiring with Michael Broddle to place an article with intent on or before September 14 2021.

Nuttall, Sode, and Michael Broddle were convicted of conspiring to transfer criminal property.

Nuttall was convicted of two charges of failing to comply with a notice and Sode was found guilty of one similar charge.

The convicted defendants will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on September 22.

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