The man who allegedly planted “bomb-like” devices in the London judicial district was in the toilet when police arrived at his home, a court has learned.
Jonathan Nuttall, 50, is accused of being involved in a scheme that left explosive-looking devices outside the offices of two senior lawyers in 2021.
It was his second day on the witness stand on Wednesday when prosecutors asked him if he had hidden a cell phone in an office chair – where they told the Old Bailey it had been found. But Nuttall denies this, insisting he used the toilet instead.
Jurors were shown body-worn video footage of police officers executing a search warrant at his home, Embley Manor, in Romsey, Hampshire, on March 17 last year.
Nuttall’s wife, Amanda, was seen answering the door in her dressing gown before her smartly dressed husband appeared at the top of the stairs.
Prosecutor Catherine Farrelly asked the defendant what he was doing while Ms Nuttall met officers.
Nuttall said, “I was in the bathroom, finished my work and got dressed.”
Ms Farrelly said: “They appear at the top of the stairs around four minutes and 20 seconds after officers first answered the intercom after leaving your wife in the circumstances you have described to us to to take care of these men ‘downstairs because you were in the bathroom?’
She asked if he went upstairs to the bedroom during his time, where his second cellphone was later found hidden in an office chair.
The defendant denied this on the grounds that he was in a bathroom attached to his bedroom.
“So it has nothing to do with a phone being found hidden in an office chair?” Ms Farrelly said.
Nuttall explained he asked his wife to let officers in for fear they might damage the door.
“She said, ‘should I go,’ I was undressed. I said, “Then you’d better go or they’ll break down the door.”
“I got dressed in the bathroom. I went to the toilet, washed my hands and teeth. I could go on. I did this.
The prosecutor said: “You deny that the phone was in that chair, so you can’t tell us how it got there?”
Nuttall replied, “Because it wasn’t there.”
Businessman Nuttall is believed to have placed the devices because he was unhappy at the prospect of losing his family home to settle a £1.4million court settlement with the National Crime Agency (NCA). .
The double bombers targeted two attorneys working for the NCA on the case, Andrew Sutcliffe KC and Anne Jeavons, whose offices are located at Gray’s Inn, prosecutors allege.
Nuttall is said to have used his driver Michael Sode, 58, along with former Royal Marine Michael Broddle, 46, as a “middleman” to carry out the crime.
He denied confiding in Sode about the “various trials and tribulations surrounding the NCA” and said their WhatsApp exchange was about when he wanted to be picked up.
The court heard messages on Sode’s phone relating to September 2019 to February 2022 had been “scrambled,” suggesting they were deleted.
The court was also told that Sode threw his phone out of a window. Nuttall said he couldn’t think of any reason why his driver would have done this or deleted the messages between them.
Ms Farrelly asked the defendant to comment on the lack of news related to the time surrounding the alleged conspiracy. Nuttall argued that there were times when he didn’t need Sode’s driving services.
The court was previously told no news was received during the nationwide lockdowns when Nuttall was predominantly living at Embley Manor rather than his flat on Sloane Street in west London.
The defendant also confirmed that he used the encrypted Telegram app for his business in China and the Middle East, on the advice of a concierge at a Hong Kong hotel, as WhatsApp did not work in those regions.
Nuttall, Sode, from Deptford, south-east London, and Broddle’s sons Charlie, 18, and Joshua, 20, from Hounslow, west London, deny two allegations of conspiracy with Michael Broddle to publish an article on intent on or before September 14, 2021 to publish .
The Old Bailey trial continues.
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