A wealthy businessman at the heart of an alleged bomb plot in Britain’s legal district has described how he spent most of a £2.4 million lottery win on his brother.
Jonathan Nuttall, 50, is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of conspiring to plant two devices in Gray’s Inn in London over a financial wrangle with the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Nuttall had allegedly become unhappy at the prospect of losing his family home, Embley Manor in Romsey, Hampshire, to pay off a £1.4 million legal settlement.
Giving evidence on Tuesday, Nuttall told jurors how his wife Amanda won £2.4 million on the lottery the first time she bought a ticket.
He went on to say that it was “extraordinarily good fortune” but “regrettably” most of it went to pay off his brother Philip’s debts.
Asked by defence barrister George Carter-Stephenson KC why he had done that, Nuttall said: “He’s my brother.”
Nuttall told jurors how he had started out in business working from his bedroom, eventually expanding into offices in Piccadilly, central London.
As the business grew, he turned to Philip who was living in Australia and offered him a job in 1999.
Nuttall said: “I wrote to him. It took about 10 days for my letter to arrive and I was very surprised at the speed he responded. With hindsight I should have realised he answered too quickly.”
The defendant said his older brother returned to the UK within a fortnight and began working with him on a “equal footing”.
Later, he discovered that his brother had a gambling habit, only finding out “after everyone else” and assuming it was to do with his love of horse racing.
He said: “I did not realise it was a problem until a considerable time later.”
Nuttall told jurors that his brother had been behaving “erratically” and stopped opening letters which led to a visit by HM Revenue and Customs.
The defendant went on to receive a 12-month conditional discharge for failing to pay a bond after his business was reclassified as high risk.
Nuttall claimed his brother also made “ridiculous” financial demands, including for £6 million to be paid in seven days or he would seek to destroy the whole family.
The court heard Nuttall had received a series of financial orders by the NCA from 2011.
He described how a search and seizure warrant was issued in 2015 as a result of which the NCA “arrived very loudly at our front door”.
He said receiving a freezing order had a “catastrophic” impact on the finances, affecting the mortgage on his home Embley Manor and family members’ bank accounts.
The prosecution allege Nuttall had targeted the lawyers acting for the NCA in the long-running case who were Andrew Sutcliffe KC and his colleague Anne Jeavons.
Nuttall, who also has a home in west London, allegedly recruited his driver, Michael Sode, 58, to act as a “middleman” with former Royal Marine Michael Broddle, 46, who planted the devices.
Broddle had in turn roped in sons Charlie, 18, and Joshua, 20, to the scheme, it was claimed.
Nuttall denied in his evidence that he had asked Sode to do anything other than act as his driver and told jurors he did not know any of the Broddle family.
Mr Carter-Stephenson asked Nuttall: “Have you ever asked Michael Sode to engage anybody on your behalf to intimidate or frighten Andrew Sutcliffe KC or Anne Jeavons?
Nuttall replied: “No, I have only asked him to drive me.”
Nuttall also said he had not asked Sode to do any research into Mr Sutcliffe and he had never seen Michael Broddle “in an area anywhere, never mind an area close to Sloane Square”, which is a short distance from his home in London.
Nuttall, of Romsey, Hampshire, Sode, of Deptford, south-east London, and Charlie and Joshua Broddle, from Hounslow, west London, deny two charges of conspiring with Michael Broddle to place an article with intent on or before September 14 2021.
Charlie Broddle denies possession of an explosive substance in relation to one of the devices.
Nuttall, Sode, Michael Broddle, Joshua Broddle and George Gray, 25, of Hounslow, deny conspiring to transfer criminal property.
Nuttall faces six charges and Sode two charges of failure of comply with a notice.