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Guilty verdict for nanny in Duke of Wellington burglary trial
A NANNY has been found guilty of helping her boyfriend burgle the family home of the Duke of Wellington’s son.
Sarah Hallcup helped Neal Akhtar steal antiques from the Heckfield home of Lord Christopher Wellesley, the youngest son of the Duke of Wellington.
A jury of eight women and four men took three hours today to find the 27-year-old guilty of conspiracy to burgle after a four-day trial at Winchester Crown Court.
Hallcup was employed by Lord Wellesley and his wife Lady Emma to look after their three children. The burglary took place while the family were away on holiday in Scotland in July last year.
Among the haul of stolen items worth £30,000 were busts of the first Duke of Wellington, the hero of Waterloo, paintings, a Cartier clock, a fob watch, rocking horses and a child’s quad bike.
The court heard that Hallcup had been nanny to the Wellesley family for four years. She lived in a one-bedroom house in the grounds of the family home and had keys to the main house when the family were away.
Edward Phillips, prosecuting, said: “She had the utmost trust of Lord and Lady Wellesley. They trusted her and they also trusted her with their property.”
But the court hear that Hallcup allowed Akhtar into the family home and that he had sent her text messages joking about “robbing the mansion”.
When Lord Wellesley returned home on July 30, he found his home had been ransacked and items stolen.
Hallcup’s house had also been ransacked, and like the Wellesley home, a bathroom window had been left wide open – an act, Mr Phillips said, done to deflect attention from Hallcup.
Officers found Akhtar’s fingerprints in the house, and found photographs of some of the stolen items on his phone and camera. Hallcup’s smartphone had also been used to search for the value of a Cartier clock.
Hallcup, of Parkside Road, Reading, denied the charge, claiming Akhtar alone burgled the house.
Judge Andrew Barnett told the disgraced nanny the offence was serious and aggravated by her breach of trust.
She burst into tears when she gave her evidence of Akhtar visiting her on July 29, saying he told her he was going to burgle the house and would kill her and her young son if she told anyone about it.
She will be sentenced in March, along with Akhtar and Scott Allaway, both from Reading, who the court heard had admitted their parts in the burglary.
This was the second trial Hallcup had faced over the same charge, the jury in the first trial earlier this month being unable to reach a verdict.