London

Bodyguard cleared of £12m jewel theft from sultan's ex-wife

Fake yellow diamond ring and fake pear-shaped blue diamond
Image caption The yellow diamond and blue diamond were worth a total of £8m

A former bodyguard accused of stealing two diamond rings and a diamond bracelet worth a total of £12m from the ex-wife of the Sultan of Brunei has been found not guilty.

Fatimah Lim had worked for Mariam Aziz, the former wife of the Sultan, as an assistant and bodyguard.

Ms Lim had denied three counts of theft. A jury took 14 hours to find her not guilty at Isleworth Crown Court.

The trial lasted five weeks and heard evidence from more than 20 witnesses.

'Gambling debts'

In court, Mrs Aziz accused Ms Lim of taking a diamond bracelet and two diamond rings, selling them and replacing the jewellery with fakes.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Sultan of Brunei's former wife Mariam Aziz had accused her bodyguard of replacing her jewellery with fakes

The jury heard the 12.71 carat pear-shaped blue diamond ring was worth about £7m and the 27.10 carat rectangular yellow diamond ring was worth about £1m.

Afifa Abdullah, the adopted daughter of the Sultan of Brunei, said she was duped into handing over two diamond rings to a former bodyguard, the court heard.

However Ms Lim's lawyer told the court that Mrs Aziz had asked her daughter to give Ms Lim the rings to pay off £3m gambling debts.

The former assistant first worked as Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah's badminton coach before becoming a bodyguard to Mrs Aziz when the couple split in 2003.

Ms Lim, who was extradited from Singapore to face the criminal charges in London, was successfully sued by Mrs Aziz for millions of pounds and the return of the jewels in 2012. The jury was told of the previous court case.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites