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Watch dealer victim of £2.8m robbery died in a ‘woodland area’

In World
June 04, 2024

A watch dealer who was the victim of a £2.8 million robbery died in a “woodland area” the next day, an inquest heard.

Oliver White, 27, was working at 247 Kettles, in affluent Richmond, south west London, on May 25 when two men “posing as customers” raided the store.

CCTV appeared to show Mr White being placed in a headlock by one of the two unarmed assailants before the pair made off with several expensive watches.

Mr White was later found dead by police who attended Sheep Walk, just over a mile from his family home in Shepperton, Surrey, at around 8.15pm the next day.

In a statement, his parents said it was their “belief” that their son “took his own life due to the anguish and distress of this terrible incident”.

At Surrey Coroners’ Court on Tuesday morning, it was heard that a post mortem examination found Mr White, from Shepperton, died from suspension.

The brief hearing in Woking was told Mr White was pronounced dead at 9.59pm on May 26 in a “wooded area adjacent to Sheep Walk”.

Simon Wickens, the area coroner, said Mr White, whose job title was given as jewellery shop sales manager, was identified by his stepfather, Mark.

Adam Stewart, the coroner’s officer, said: “He confirms he had known Oliver for 19 years and saw him after he had died at the aforementioned woodland area on May 26.”

Mr Wickens said: “An inquest is requested due to the unnatural nature of the death.

“I have previously released Oliver’s body back to the family. The matter is subject to evidence gathering and a coroner’s review. This inquest stands as open and adjourned.”

Oliver White with Alana, his girlfriend

Oliver White with Alana, his girlfriend

The coroner has not yet set a date for the full inquest to take place.

A day after Mr White’s death, a balloon and flower tribute was set up against a gate at the bottom of Sheep Walk.

One note read: “We promise to always look after Alana and help keep your memory alive.”

Police previously said they had made two arrests in connection with the robbery.

A woman in her 30s and a man in his 30s were both arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to rob on May 29.

Police have asked anyone who recognises the suspects in the CCTV images to come forward

Police have asked anyone who recognises the suspects in the CCTV images to come forward – Fisher Simon – Communication & Engagement

They have both since been bailed pending further inquiries, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.

A spokesman for 247 Kettles posted a statement on Instagram in which they claimed Mr White should have “never been alone” at the premises on May 25 and that such a large number of watches “should’ve never been on display”.

The shop disclosed that a series of safety measures were in place including panic buttons, alarms, smokescreens and security doors, but the company said that “through no fault of anyone’s” they were not used during the “tragic event”.

Last week, police repeated calls for anyone who recognised the two suspects pictured in the CCTV images to come forward.

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