Businessman jailed for plot to bomb Gray’s Inn amid £1.4m legal row

A businessman suspected of involvement in an international money laundering ring that targeted two British FBI lawyers in a bomb plot against them has been jailed for eight years and two months.

Jonathan Nuttall, 50, was convicted of conspiring with his driver, Michael Sode, and an ex-marine, Michael Broddle, to plant two devices in the legal borough of London.

A four-month trial at the Old Bailey heard that Nuttall had been pursued by the National Crime Agency (NCA) to seize assets worth £1.4m.

He hatched a plot to target NCA lawyers Andrew Sutcliffe KC and Anne Jeavons after becoming upset at the prospect of losing his stately home, Embley Manor in Romsey, Hampshire.

The court heard he used his driver, Sode, 59, from Deptford, south-east London, as a “go-between” to recruit ex-Royal Marine Broddle, 47, to carry out research and identification on solicitors.

Brodle was accused of using sons to help with the scheme, which culminated on September 14, 2021 when he planted two devices at Gray's Inn in London, the heart of the English legal district.

Sentencing on Friday, Judge Simon Mayo KC said: “In my judgment this was a malicious, bold and extremely serious attack on those involved in the administration of justice.

“Your agreed purpose was to undermine the administration of justice.

“I am perfectly satisfied that you intended serious harm to be caused by your agreed conduct.

“It is patently clear that abandoning these devices would inevitably cause widespread alarm and disruption.”

Nuttall and Sode were found guilty of two counts of conspiring with Broddle to publish an article with intent on or before September 14, 2021.

Nuttall, Sode and Broddle were convicted of conspiracy to transfer criminal property.

Nuttall was convicted of two counts of failing to comply with a notice and Sode was found guilty of a similar charge.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Sutcliffe said he had never heard of a legal representative being targeted in a “mob like way” before in an attempt to disrupt the legal process.

Mr Sutcliffe said he was “deeply concerned and distressed” to learn that Nuttall's “premeditated campaign of fear and intimidation” included the surveillance of his family.

Ms Jeavons said she felt “angry and disturbed” that Nuttall had unleashed his anger on a “brutal, cowardly and completely misguided” attack on her and Mr Sutcliffe.

In her victim impact statement, she described Nuttall's actions as “malicious and vindictive” and said his campaign had had a “significant” impact on her and her family.

The first device, left near a bench, was spotted by a porter and later found to be “potentially viable” as it contained a smoke grenade, jurors were told.

Another smoke grenade was launched with the second non-viable device near Mr Sutcliffe's office in an attempt to cause “maximum alarm”.

It came with a letter addressed to Mr Sutcliffe, using his old military nickname ‘Sooty', which contained false allegations against him.

Brodle had previously gone to solicitors' addresses and written a note threatening to rape Mr Sutcliffe's daughter and dig up his infant son's grave, although it appears it was never sent.

Brodle, who was paid around £7,000 through Sode, was arrested two days after the devices were installed and police seized fireworks, gas cylinders, a hat and wig and rubber masks from his home.

Before he was arrested, Nuttall hid a cell phone inside an office chair and Sode allegedly threw it out a window.

Mrs Jeavons had told jurors about the history of the financial row with Nuttall, although his wife, Amanda Nuttall, who had won a £2.4million lottery jackpot, was named in the NCA's legal documents.

He said payments to settle the £1.4m order had been rejected by the NCA as possibly coming from the proceeds of crime, putting the Nuttalls' mansion at risk.

He said Nuttall was unhappy about this and in a meeting made it clear that “it would be a red line if the NCA sought to repossess his house”.

Jurors heard Nuttall also had a flat near Sloane Square in west London and a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce, but neither was his property.

The legal proceedings began in 2011 and the original settlement dates back to 2019 and remains unresolved.

The NCA had alleged that assets held in the name of Ms Nuttall and associated corporate entities were funded by the proceeds of an international money laundering and mortgage fraud ring.

Nuttall's defense lawyer stressed that the settlement was made on a “commercial basis without conceding that the NCA was right about anything”.

Nuttall previously received a 12-month conditional discharge for failing to pay a bond after his business was reclassified as high risk.

Natal blamed his brother, Philip, for some of his financial problems and denied any involvement in a conspiracy.

Most of the lottery winnings went to pay off his brother's gambling debts, he said.

He denied hiding his mobile phone from police, saying he was using the bathroom when officers arrived at Embley Manor.

Sonde, who denied wrongdoing and claimed he was involved in collecting debts from clients of an escort agency business, was jailed for six years and six months.

Brodle, who claimed responsibility for installing the devices but refused to name who he worked for, was jailed for seven years.

Brodle's sons had previously been cleared of wrongdoing.