London: A British businessman was on Monday jailed for 20 months for hiring a gang of thieves to rob his Indian-origin mistress in London.
Sri Lankan-origin currency exchange owner Nilanka de Silva, 34, hatched a plot to steal 10,000 pounds from his lover Kirti Mistry as she passed through Victoria station in central London on her way to the city of Leicester.
De Silva knew the holistic therapist would be carrying the money to pay for her ill mother`s treatment and wanted to get his hands on it to help clear a 40,000 pound-debt he owed Mistry.
"You hatched what I consider to be a thoroughly dishonest and evil plan to give her some money and arrange for this money to be stolen," recorder Francis Bacon said at Southwark Crown Court during sentencing today.
The court heard how Mistry was left traumatised by the robbery and confided in De Silva, unaware he was responsible for the attack.
"You were the person Ms Mistry confided in and you pretended you had nothing to do with what happened on that day. You behaved abysmally and you have brought shame upon yourself, your family and everyone who knows you," the recorder added.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the plot was only exposed because one of the thieves was an experienced criminal under police surveillance.
Gang members hired by De Silva, Christopher Wynter (34), Pedro Lewis (34), Blaine Ryan (22), and Matthew Williams (29) were jailed for a total of four-and-a-half years.
Prosecutor James Norman told the court that Mistry met De Silva, a married father of twins, in 2010.
Their contact fizzled out but they met in 2012 and a sexual relationship developed.
"She took up a premises a stone`s throw from De Silva`s currency exchange in Greenwich. She gave him 40,000 pounds in cash, her savings. She did that because she trusted him to look after it for her and he persuaded her that it would be safer at his business premises rather than at her flat, and she believed him," Norman said.
But in February this year she asked for the 40,000 pounds back because she needed it to pay for her mother`s treatment.
De Silva was unable to produce the money and when he learned Mistry was travelling with 10,000 pounds on March 3, he plotted to steal it and pay her back with her own money.
His lawyer Andy Hill said his client now planned to sell his house to repay his former lover.
"He holds himself responsible for the sums of money that are outstanding to the victim and he feels he betrayed her. He was in a relationship with Ms Mistry and there is a betrayal of her by his actions. He is unable to look himself in the mirror because of what he has done, not only to her but his own family and his own prospects," he said.