If James Brown hadn’t tried to be a hero he wouldn’t have been hurt. He would still be valuing precious stones for one of London’s premier jewellers.
Ricky Jones had planned this day over several weeks. He’d watched the comings and goings at Montague Diamond Studios in London’s Hatton Garden from a tiny flat which he rented above the shop opposite. He knew exactly when the night guard would be replaced by the doorman. He knew what time the manager arrived in the morning and exactly when the staff went home from work. He even knew the times at which the police patrolled this famous street filled with some of the world’s best known jewellers.
He had visited the studio on several occasions and made a couple of substantial purchases, so when he arrived that August afternoon he was greeted with the due deference all loyal customers deserve. ‘Hello Mr Jones’ said the doorman raising his silk top hat and opening the door to the shop.
But today Ricky Jones’s visit was to be slightly different. He certainly expected to leave with some new pieces but today he had no intention of paying for them.
Most of the staff did exactly as Ricky Jones demanded. After all, he was the one holding the gun. But one young man, James Brown, decided that he was not going to allow the burglary to happen. It was an unwise move. He survived but he would never work again.
By the time the police arrived he was well away from the scene of his crime. Inspector Grayson of the Metropolitan Police promised that it would only be a matter of time before Ricky Jones would be brought to justice.
But he was wrong. Five years later he retired, frustrated that he’d never got even close to Ricky Jones. At least, that’s what he thought.
In fact Mr Jones took a lot of trouble to make himself invisible. The lush black hair was cut to a business-like short back and sides and coloured a mousey shade of brown. His neat beard was gone. He had changed his contacts for a pair of functional looking spectacles. He even managed to shrink by swapping his trendy high shoes for a pair of glossy black brogues. His extravagant colourful clothes were changed for a drab grey suit. He took great pleasure in deliberately passing Inspector Grayson in the street unnoticed.
Despite the burglary Montague Diamond Studios remained one of London’s most prestigious Jewellers. The staff remained loyal and most of the members that had witnessed the event all those years were still there serving the firms select clientele.
At a high desk in one corner of the studio sat Montague’s new diamond expert, Richard who was affectionately known as Dickie Diamond. He was handling a sparkling bracelet with gloved hands, and examining it through his eyeglass. It was said that he didn’t actually need to work because he was a man of means. But he got enormous pleasure in spending his days doing what he loved to do most, studying precious stones.
The day was nothing special. Customers came and went. Then the doorman announced the arrival of a young man in a wheelchair. The staff rushed to greet him. It was James Brown visiting his old place of work for the first time since that fateful day. He suddenly spun his chair around and faced the diamond expert. A gasp went round the room as James Brown produced a gun from beneath the blanket over his lap.
‘Hello Mr Jones’ he said.