Businessman tells court he did not pay hush money to ‘Gray’s Inn bomber’

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A businessman has denied paying “hush money” to a former Royal Marine who planted two “bombs” in London’s legal district.

Jonathan Nuttall, 50, allegedly orchestrated a plot aimed at two lawyers acting for the National Crime Agency with whom he was in a financial dispute.

Jurors at the Old Bailey have heard he was unhappy that he might lose his family home, Embley Manor in Romsey, Hampshire, to pay off a £1.4 million legal settlement with the NCA.

It is alleged he deployed his driver Michael Sode, 58, to act as a “middleman” with Michael Broddle, 46, who planted the two devices at Gray’s Inn on September 14 2021.

Cross-examining, prosecutor Catherine Farrelly said: “Following his arrest you continued to pay him money, money that I’m going to refer to as hush money. Money to keep quiet.”

Nuttall replied: “That’s completely wrong.”

The defendant was then quizzed about his failure to answer questions in his police interview.

Ms Farrelly suggested he sat back and listened to what police had uncovered in their investigation then “chose not to answer their questions because you did not an an answer for them at the time”.

Nuttall responded: “I answered quite a number of questions at the beginning.”

The prosecutor went on: “What you did was you let the police reveal the information that they had and went away and manufactured your defence thereafter.”

The defendant answered: “That’s completely wrong. I was never asked a question after that date.”

He told jurors he was “in complete shock” at being arrested as he was not someone who was involved in “criminal activity like this”.

Nuttall and Sode, of Deptford, south-east London; and Broddle’s sons Charlie, 18, and Joshua, 20, 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.

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