British brothers broke into a Swiss museum

British brothers broke into a Swiss museum

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British brothers broke into a Swiss museum

The Museum of Far Eastern Art in Geneva has more than 9,000 artefacts of Japanese and Chinese culture. Image: BBC


British brothers broke into a Swiss museum.

In order to “clear debt,” two British brothers admitted to breaking into Swiss museum and taking famous Chinese Ming period treasures valued at millions of dollars, the court heard.

trio of thieves broke through the main door of the Museum of Far Eastern Art in Geneva in June 2019, according to the prosecution. They used tools.

The theft included two bowls and two vases from the fourteenth century. In Geneva courtStewart and Louis Ahearne acknowledged their involvement.

The two, who are from South East London, went before panel of three judges on Monday at the Palais de Justice in Geneva to answer to allegations of trespassing, stealing, and property damage.

Although they resisted being extradited from the UK, the Home Secretary authorised it in 2022. A last-minute request for the trial to be held in private was denied by court president Patrick Monney.

He noted that the court was aware of the circumstances of the case from reports by the Swiss Prosecutors Office and Geneva Police and explained the objective of the hearing was to “ask additional questions”.

The two brothers went to Hong Kong soon after the raid, the court heard, in order to sell one of the stolen goods to an auction house for £80,000.

Louis Ahearne, a single father, told the court he arrived in Geneva a few days prior to the operation in order to do reconnaissance. The 34-year old said that he “participated in the burglary” and that he went to “film the museum.”

Additionally, he acknowledged handing over his passport to the Hong Kong auction house. “I was in debt,” he declared to the judge.

“I got hired to act as front in order to pay off debt. am the third guy entering the museum on the [CCTV] video without sledgehammer or crowbar.”

British brothers broke into a Swiss museum

A rare pomegranate vase from the Yongle Period had been valued by experts for insurance purposes at £1.96m. Image: MET POLICE

“Chess game”

The brothers maintained throughout the hearing that they were unwilling to reveal the identity of the third party. The 45-year old Stewart Ahearne told the court he was a carpenter in England and had five children.

Additionally, he acknowledged renting the Renault Captur from Avis at Geneva Airport using his name. He denied being involved in any kind of pre-planning for the Geneva theft, although he did tell the court that he “took full responsibility” for his acts.

“After entering the museum, I took some stuff off of people. had no idea about any organisation or anything having to do with the artwork,” he remarked.

He went on to say that during the theft, he was “used as pawn like in game of chess”: “I was requested to come to Switzerland to do some driving.

The third person altered the narrative and the situation. It is impossible to turn him down. He’s not very kind individual. was the one who was used.

“I received call informing me that my brother owed money and that needed to return some items. The alarm began to sound. Being the bigger brother, it was in my nature to look out for my brother.”

The three arrived in Geneva in February 2019, according to the court. Stewart Ahearne claimed to have “put two and two together” following the breakin, although Louis Ahearne said this was done for “tourist” purposes.

“It was so the third person could do some scouting,” he said. When asked about his life in Champ Dollon prison, he broke down and said that he spends 23 hours a day alone in a cage.

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