An armed thief who raided a jewellery shop in a luxury hotel before fleeing to Brazil has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison.
Dean Jones was one of three masked men who raided Gleneagles Hotel in June 2017, smashing up the jewellery boutique and stealing Rolex watches worth more than £500,000.
The gang, armed with large hammers, a machete and what appeared to be a handgun, ran into the hotel in Perth and Kinross and brandished their weapons at staff and guests before heading for the jewellery shop.
CCTV footage of the raid was played to the High Court in Edinburgh and showed a shop assistant taking cover and hiding behind a mirrored door disguised as a panel in the shop.
When the robbers reached the boutique, they smashed each of the glass cabinets displaying the Rolex watches and stashed them into bags.
The watches stolen during the two-minute raid would have cost £516,750 to buy at the Mappin & Webb boutique.
Judge Lady Carmichael told the court “none have been recovered”.
After fleeing through the front door, the trio drove from the scene and abandoned the Audi A4 they had used to drive to the hotel.
Despite attempts to remove forensic evidence from the vehicle with cleaning products, Jones’s DNA was found throughout the car and on a hammer left inside.
They then got into a Range Rover with fake number plates, which was parked nearby, and travelled to Glasgow Central Station to board a train to London, where Jones lived with his partner and one of his children.
Within hours of his return to London, Jones boarded an easyJet plane to Malaga, before flying to Morocco and Turkey in his bid to escape justice.
Detectives managed to trace his movements and – a week before the other culprits were due to go on trial – Jones was detained by police at a Sao Paulo Airport after boarding a flight to Brazil.
He spent months in a Brazilian prison before being extradited to the UK to face charges.
After his capture and extradition, the 39-year-old entered a guilty plea and on Friday was sentenced to 11 years and four months in prison, with the sentence backdated to August 2018, when he was detained in Brazil.
Lady Carmichael told Jones: “The robbery was an act of serious, premeditated criminality.
“You removed yourself from the country and, as a matter of fact avoided – for a significant period – facing the course of justice for the robbery and there was the necessity for extradition proceedings.
“All of that has resulted in the use of extra public resources.”
When considering his sentence, Lady Carmichael added she “could see no reason to distinguish” Jones from fellow robber Liam Richardson – who is Jones’s stepbrother and was jailed in October 2018 for the same length of time.
The third man, Richard Fleming, was given an 18-year sentence with an extended three-year licence period.
Jones’s defence lawyer said his client had been unemployed and in debt “when he stupidly agreed to take part”, adding that although he had an extensive criminal record he had no previous convictions for violence.
Procurator fiscal for major crime and homicide, David Green, said following the sentencing: “Dean Jones was part of a gang that armed themselves and committed a violent robbery in broad daylight.
“This has been a long-running case for the Crown Office and it is thanks to the work of police and prosecutors, working with global law enforcement, that he has been brought back to Scotland to face justice.”
Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Patrick said: “Jones, along with others, committed a serious crime targeting Gleneagles Hotel, causing great distress to those who were working and staying there.
“Today’s sentencing concludes a long and complex inquiry. Two other men have already been sentenced for the crime whilst Jones fled the United Kingdom and was later apprehended trying to enter Brazil in 2018.
“However, with assistance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the National Crime Agency, officers from Police Scotland travelled to Brazil to extradite him back to Scotland in October 2019.”
He added: “This sentencing serves as a warning to others that such crimes will not be tolerated.
“These crimes will be fully investigated to ensure those who are responsible are brought to justice.”