UK: Barrister tells court of ‘shock’ at being targeted in alleged Gray’s Inn plot


A barrister who was allegedly targeted by a wealthy businessman when devices designed to resemble explosives were planted at Gray’s Inn said he was ‘surprised’ when police came to see him as he ‘thought he had nothing to tell’, a court heard today.

Andrew Sutcliffe KC was instructed to conduct legal proceedings relating to a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into Jonathan Nuttall, his wife, and others over alleged money laundering and other offences which led, the Old Bailey previously heard, to Nuttall ‘harbouring a great deal of animosity’ toward Sutcliffe.

The NCA instructed a second barrister in Sutcliffe’s chambers, Anne Jeavons, to work alongside him. In April 2019, an order was made for the recovery of £1m of assets from Nuttall’s wife.

Two ‘devices’ were placed in Gray’s Inn (pictured above), one beside a bench and the second outside chambers 3 Verulam Buildings, where Sutcliffe works, on 14 September 2021. A smoke grenade, which was part of one of the devices, was also let off.

The incident led to building evacuations and road closures.

Michael Broddle, 46, of Hounslow, London, accepted that he had placed the devices.

Nuttall, 50, of Romsey, Hants, along with co-defendants Joshua Broddle, 20, Charlie Broddle, 18, both of Hounslow, London, Michael Sode, 58, of Lewisham, London, and George Gray, 25, of Wembley, London, all deny being involved.

Giving evidence, Sutcliffe, who was called to the bar in 1983 and sits as a divisional judge of the High Court in the Chancery Division, was in chambers on the day of the incident.

He said: ‘I happened to be in the clerks room when…our chambers administrator came up to tell us and said we had to evacuate the building. I went back to my room, collected my keys and mobile phone and left the building. We were directed to Gray’s Inn Square 100 yards from my chambers. I was there for about three hours, I needed to get back into chambers, I had some work to do so I stayed until I was able to get back.

‘[The next day] I was in my room in chambers, [the] receptionist told me someone wanted to see me and it was DC Rose. I was very surprised because I thought I had nothing to tell. I had simply been in chambers the day before with everyone else. He showed me his laptop which contained a photo of a note and who it was addressed to.’

The court heard the note was addressed to Sutcliffe and included the nickname ‘Sooty’.