Men jailed for violent Barking robbery that saw shopkeeper strangled
PUBLISHED: 14:57 04 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:57 04 October 2019
Two men have been jailed for their part in a violent robbery that saw a shop owner strangled and attacked with a stun gun.
Southwark Crown Court heard how Alin-Viorel Dimofti, along with two accomplices, entered Turquoise jewellers in London Road, Barking at around 6pm on December 27, 2016.
Once inside, they used a stun gun on the shop owner before tying him up with silver tape. They then strangled their victim until he played dead in order to make them let go.
Dimofti, of St Albans Road, Watford, and his accomplices then took around £400,000 worth of jewellery before fleeing the scene in a blue Citroen Picasso.
The shop owner, who was 45 at the time, managed to free himself around 10 minutes after the attackers left. He called 999 and police arrived to find him covered in blood and badly shaken, with tape still stuck to his clothing.
The subsequent investigation found that Dimofti and Cristi-Adi Mandi, of no fixed address, had visited the shop 10 days earlier, when they befriended the owner.
On the night of the robbery, Dimofti waited outside while Mandi - who was not at the shop - phoned to say his friends were outside with jewellery to sell and asked if they could be allowed in despite the store being closed. The owner then raised the shutter.
Officers also discovered Dimofti and Mandi, both 27, came into the UK via the Eurounnel on December 9, 2016 with the same car leaving from Folkestone on the night of the robbery.
European arrest warrants were issued for both men in February 2019. Both were arrested the following month - Dimofti in France, Mandi in Italy.
The getaway car used on the evening of the robbery was found in March 2017, with a single gold ring found in the rear of the vehicle being the only piece of jewellery ever recovered.
In court, Dimofti admitted conspiracy to rob, with Mandi being found guilty of the same charge following a trial.
On Friday, October 4 Dimofti was jailed for eight years and Mandi for 12,
Det ConAndy Davenport said: "This was a pre-meditated and carefully planned attack in which the defendants were intent on using extensive force in order to rob the shop.
"As well as suffering physical injury and considerable financial loss, the victim was left traumatised by this incident.
"He has had to relive the events of that night by giving evidence at Mandi's trial and we hope these custodial sentences bring him some kind of closure.
"We are pleased the defendants are now behind bars and we hope this result shows our commitment to getting dangerous individuals off the streets of London."