Stories behind the Danyaal Jewelers group with 350 crimes – “from career criminal to family man”
From a career criminal to a single man living with his mother – the five-man robbery gang that attacked Danyaal Jewelers is made up of a variety of thieves. John Gourlay, Justin Boylan, Trevor Leek, Arfan Latif and Hassan Zulfiqar are serving lengthy prison terms after being sentenced to 72-and-a-half years at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday.
The criminal quintet were found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon and conspiring to rob jewelers in Ladypool Road, Sparkbrook, in a heist that netted around £300,000. The raid, which took place on March 3 last year, was immediately followed by dramatic CCTV and mobile phone footage of the gang driving a stolen Toyota Hilux into the showroom.
Also memorable was the member of the group who acted as ‘crowd control’, carrying an ax up the street repeatedly shouting: “What?”
READ MORE: Danyaal Jewelers robbery gang jailed for 72 years after ‘viral’ £300,000 ram raid
This is not the first time that some of the defendants have gained notoriety for serious crimes. Between them, they have collected almost 350 previous crimes. Here’s everything we know about them.
John Gourlay was aptly described as a “career criminal” with 47 convictions for 180 offences. He was jailed in 2015 after he was revealed to be the ringleader of a series of robberies of cigarette delivery vans across the Midlands.
A botched attack at a Costco in Derby led to a massive police chase down the M42 when they were caught. Officers had to use CS spray on Gourlay after he threatened him with a baton. The gang committed 20 robberies and carjackings in less than a month.
Gourlay was sentenced to 13 years and three months, and tried but failed to appeal. He played a major role in the attack on Danyaal Jewellers, first by stealing the Toyota Hilux two weeks earlier by prying the keys from the owner’s locker at a Kingsbury Road gym. He also used the victim’s bank cards at a Co-op shortly afterwards.
After the robbery, he wasted no time in visiting the Jewelery Quarter, where he sold the stolen gold bracelet, which had been melted down. Selly Oak, 49, of Pershore Road, admitted theft, fraud and criminal possession of property, in addition to convictions for burglary and possession of an offensive weapon. He was sentenced to 16 years.
Justin Jarmola, defending, said: “It is very sad and disappointing that this offense is all based on the need to fund a Class A addiction. Despite his addiction, he has remained a devoted family man as a father and grandfather. He is deeply sorry for this period of imprisonment It’s clearly going to affect his ability to be the father and grandfather he has.”
Justin Boylan is another law breaker with 31 convictions for 105 offences. In 2012 he was jailed for 30 months for stealing Land Rovers which he targeted at Birmingham Airport and the NEC.
Birmingham Crown Court heard he was involved in the attack at Danyaal Jewelers after drinking on the back of a failed relationship. The police found the tags of the stolen jewelry on the couch of her home after the robbery. The 51-year-old, of School Acre Road, Shard End, was sentenced to 14 years.
Harbinder Lally, defending, said: “He is now in his 50s. It’s an amazing age to be involved in this type of crime. He had been trouble free for ten years. He was working full-time as a truck driver and in a stable relationship. He split up with his partner and went back to drinking. I’m afraid it’s there.’
Trevor Lee was believed to be the man behind the wheel of the Toyota Hilux as it smashed into Danyaal Jewelers twice, nearly mowing down the business owner in the second collision.
He was identified as the driver because he is “significantly taller” than his co-defendant at over six feet three inches. Leek has 22 convictions for 31 offenses and was serving an 18-month sentence for stalking and multiple breaches of a non-aggression order. The court heard that these latest offenses took place when he tried to ‘repair’ his broken marriage.
Prison staff wrote glowing references describing Lee as “well-mannered and polite” and an “ideal resident”. They also confirmed that he once intervened to prevent a “serious incident”.
The 44-year-old, of Southgate Road, Birmingham, was jailed for 14 years and six months. Balbir Singh, defending, said: “He is generally a decent man. He has used his time in custody well.”
Arfan Latif has 18 convictions for 28 offences, including a prison sentence in 2015 for conspiracy to commit robbery. That also included a raid on a jewelry store where a man wielding an ax yelled at people to come back in a robbery-like situation. Danyaal. Several weapons were later found at his home address.
According to the judge, he has borderline personality disorder, is single with no children and lived at home with his mother before his incarceration. The 38-year-old, of Kinver Croft, Birmingham, received a 16-year sentence.
Amrisha Parathalingam, defending, said: “His record shows he has been in and out of custody. He hopes this period will give him time to reflect and make a final move.”
Hassan Zulfiqar is the youngest member of the gang at 26 years old. He also has the lightest criminal record, with two convictions for four offences, including driving under the influence of cannabis and cultivating cannabis.
Zulfiqar was allegedly involved in the Danyaal robbery off late. Before the raid, he was caught on CCTV driving the stolen Audi TT getaway car and buying adhesives used to attach fake number plates.
Zulfiqar, also from Kinver Croft, Birmingham, was jailed for 12 years. Gerard Hillman, defending, said: “There are six character references that show what kind of person he is. Before and after the crimes, he never had any contact with three out of four of his co-accused. He was not in any leadership role. He is a man of some intelligence.” .
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