17 March 2022

Boy, 12, denies burgling top London hotels in alleged 10-month spree

17 March 2022

A 12-year-old boy has denied burgling some of London’s top hotels over 10 months, a court has heard.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of carrying out raids on Claridge’s in Mayfair, the Four Seasons in Park Lane, the Corinthia Hotel in Whitehall, and The Millennium Hotel in Knightsbridge.

He also faces allegations of burgling BBC Television Centre in White City and is said to have targeted the offices of retailer The White Company and media agency Publicis within the complex.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday alongside his 13-year-old brother, who is accused of involvement in three of the burglaries.

The Four Seasons hotel (Ian Nicholson/PA) (PA Archive)

Due to their age, the siblings, from west London, stood in front of the dock with their mother alongside.

The 12-year-old faces 15 charges – 14 counts of burglary and one count of conspiracy to commit burglary between April 2021 and February 2022.

His brother is charged with four counts – three of burglary between September 2021 and February 2022 and one of conspiring to commit burglary between April 2021 and February 2022.

Jonathan Bryan, prosecuting, told the court that the boys are pleading not guilty to all charges.

An adult co-defendant, Shane McCarthy, 19, also appeared in court facing 11 charges, consisting of nine counts of burglary, one of theft and one of conspiracy to commit burglary between April 2021 and February 2022.

Mr Bryan said McCarthy also denies all charges.

BBC Television Centre (Clara Molden/PA) (PA Archive)

Magistrate Alan Elias told the court to act as if the hearing was at a youth court, saying: “Let’s keep the atmosphere quite informal.”

Mr Elias immediately sent McCarthy’s case to Isleworth Crown Court on April 14 and released him on unconditional bail.

“Before that date, you really, really, really need to stay out of trouble, do you understand?” he asked McCarthy, who nodded.

The prosecutor then argued that the boys’ cases should not be sent to Crown Court alongside McCarthy’s because of “the disparity in their age” and their “limited” criminal record.

“The age and lack of convictions, it is my submission, on this occasion that we separate them and have the youths dealt with in the youth court,” he said.

Adel Buckingham, defending, welcomed the prosecution’s submission to separate the cases.

She said the young brothers both have special needs and “their age and lack of maturity are both important factors to consider”.

“It is important that they are not overwhelmed and can meaningfully take part in their trial,” she added.

Mr Elias said: “Having listened to both parties, we are convinced that in the interest of justice this should be separated and there should be a trial in youth court.”

He released the two boys until March 28 when they will appear at Highbury Corner Youth Court.

“The other thing, lads, is that you need to stay out of trouble, really stay out of trouble until then, do you understand?” Mr Elias said.

They both nodded and the 12-year-old said “Thanks” before they left the court.

McCarthy denies all 11 charges and is due to appear at Isleworth Crown Court on April 14.

The 12-year-old denies all 15 charges he faces, and the 13-year-old denies all four charges against him.

Both are due to appear at Highbury Corner Youth Court on March 28.

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