Man jailed for handling jewellery stolen from murdered businessman Guy Hedger

08 June 2018
A man has been jailed for four years for handling jewellery stolen by the men who murdered popular businessman Guy Hedger.

Jamie Evans, 38 and of Headswell Avenue in Bournemouth, was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court today, Friday 8 June 2018, after pleading guilty at a previous hearing to two counts of handling stolen goods and possession of an offensive weapon.

The court heard Evans was identified as being linked to the murder investigation via mobile phone data linked to the offenders and was subsequently caught for the handling offences when he attempted to return the stolen items to police.

Mr Hedger, 61, was shot in the chest at close range by one of two masked burglars who had broken into the home he shared with his husband Simon Hedger-Cooper in Castlewood near Ringwood just before 3am on Sunday 30 April 2017.  He sadly died from his injuries two hours later.

Around £124,000-worth of jewellery, bags and watches were stolen.

In January 2018, Kevin Downton, 40, and Jason Baccus, 42, were convicted of Mr Hedger’s murder, aggravated burglary, possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and other burglary offences.

They were handed life prison sentences and told they would serve a minimum of 34 years in prison before they would be eligible for parole.

In June 2017 Evans was spoken to by police officers with regards to his phone contact with the suspects.

On Monday 24 July 2017 the independent charity Crimestoppers issued a £10,000 reward for the recovery of the firearm used and the return of sentimental jewellery, which was stolen during the crime.

Two days later, on Wednesday 26 July, Dorset Police was alerted by Crimestoppers that a jiffy bag containing jewellery from the burglary marked ‘police’ had been placed inside a Royal Mail post box on Western Avenue in Bournemouth.

The bag contained five rings, two bracelets, a gold necklace and a Cartier watch – worth an estimated £27,705 – stolen from Mr Hedger’s home. Jewellery from a burglary which occurred on Keighley Avenue in Broadstone on Saturday 29 April 2017 was also inside the bag.

Forensic tests were carried out on the jewellery and Evans’ DNA was located on a Pandora bracelet stolen from Mr Hedger’s home.

Evans was arrested on 31 August 2017 on suspicion of handling stolen goods. He was questioned and then released under investigation.

Officers searched Evans’ antiques dealership in Boscombe, The Antiques Vineyard. Two mobile phones and a tablet were seized. One of the mobiles – an old Nokia-style phone – was found in the microwave and the call to Crimestoppers was listed in the call log.

An asp baton was also seized and Evans was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon. 

The recording of the phone call to Crimestoppers and the phone number used to make the call were not able to be provided by Crimestoppers, as this is protected to maintain caller anonymity.

Evans told officers he was offered and bought the items for £150 on Monday 1 May 2017 believing he would be able to make a reasonable profit, even though his shop dealt in furniture and quirky items not jewellery.

Evans said he didn't realise the prominence of the items until he saw a newspaper article about the Crimestoppers reward and then he panicked and returned them to the police.

Sentencing Evans, Judge Keith Cutler said: "Those individuals involved in selling antiques and other items of a second-hand nature must be over vigilant to keep on the right side of the law.

"There may be fewer burglaries taking place if there was no one willing to sell or dispose of items from these burglaries."

Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Derbyshire, of Dorset Police's Major Crime Investigation Team, said: "It was not until the Crimestoppers reward was publicised that Jamie Evans made any effort to return the jewellery that had been stolen.

"I would like to thank Crimestoppers for supporting our investigation and putting up the substantial reward as this was clearly the catalyst that motivated Mr Evans to take action and return the jewellery.

"The sentence sends a very strong warning to those individuals involved in receiving, handling or selling on stolen goods. Without people acting as receivers, there would be no gain for those people committing burglaries. Offences of handling will be fully investigated and offenders like Mr Evans will be brought to justice."

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