GLASGOW.- Five men accused of demanding £4.25million to return a stolen da Vinci work of art appeared in court. On August 27, 2003, the Madonna with the Yarnwinder, worth around £30m, was on view Drumlanrig Castle when it was stolen. It is believed that the five accused men contacted a chartered loss adjuster and claimed they would be able to return the work within 72 hours.
The accused allegedly demanded £4.25million be deposited before the work would be returned. The accused are: Robert Graham, 56, of Ormskirk, Lancashire; John Doyle, 59, also of Ormskirk; Calum Jones, 43, of Kilmacolm and David Boyce, 61, of Airdrie, pleaded not guilty during a brief appearance at the High Court in Glasgow. The fifth accused, Marshall Ronald, 52, of Upholland, Skelmersdale, made no plea. Judge Lord Brailsford continues the case until later this year for a further preliminary hearing.
ArtDaily published the following a year after the theft:
Detective Chief Inspector Peter McAdam, heading the search for the thieves, said: "Id be a liar if I didnt say I wasnt frustrated on occasions in respect of some of the length of time its taken to get various different inquiries done. However, that goes with the territory in an inquiry thats as big and as complex as this one."
Castle manager Charles Lister stated, "The family do obviously try to remain optimistic about the return of the painting. So, were looking forward to it coming back as soon as possible. It would be a tragedy if anything happened to it. Not only is it a treasure to the family themselves, but obviously to the thousands of people who have come and seen it in the past. The family likes to display these things to the public. It could have been locked away but His Grace felt he should show it to the people so they could enjoy it themselves. We obviously looked at security. I think every single historic house in the country did after the sad theft, but I dont think isolation was necessarily good or bad in that way. "