Towie stars fail in jailing appeal
The Only Way Is Essex sisters Sam and Billie Faiers have written to a judge in a bid to save their stepfather from prison.
But their plea did not stop an Old Bailey judge jailing David Chatwood for the equivalent of four years. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal £1 million-worth of gold and silver bullion from a lorry in Belgium in October last year.
Judge Richard Hone said he had read a letter from Chatwood, 58, and "also a letter from his daughters who find him helpful in their shops". But he said this would not alter his sentence because Chatwood was a principal organiser of the theft.
The boutique-owning television sisters, along with Sam's boyfriend Joey Essex, waved from the public gallery with their mother Sue Wells as Chatwood was led away.
Judge Hone said that with time served since pleading guilty in April, Chatwood would serve two years and nine months. He had been recalled to prison because he was on licence from a 2001 sentence of 12 years for drugs and firearms offences.
Jason Bartfeld, for Chatwood, said: "Unique to Mr Chatwood's case is the media profile of his daughters, who are sitting in court. That, to Mr Chatwood, brings an additional sense of shame at the adverse publicity they have had to suffer, and will no doubt suffer, as a result of his actions."
The sisters, who live with their parents in Sawyers Grove, Brentwood, Essex, left court posing for photographers but refusing to comment.
Judge Hone said it was a "well organised and sophisticated" conspiracy involving the use of lorry driver Brian Mulcahay as the inside man. The British lorry was travelling through Belgium en route from Switzerland to Birmingham.
Mulcahay, 46, of Grosvenor Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, was jailed for three years and six months. Stanley Rose, 75, of Iver, Pilgrims Hatch, Brentwood, was jailed for four years. David Gale, 55, of Hansells Mead, Harlow, and Gary Cummings, 51, of Anne Way, Ilford, all Essex, were each jailed for three years.
John Corley, 53, of Tankerton Road, Whitstable, Kent, was given six years. A seventh man, Matthew Middleton, 42, of Crows Road, Epping, Essex, also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced at a later date.