A Russian businesswoman has been found guilty of masterminding a terrifying revenge robbery of her married ex-lover's house, which saw his wife and teenage daughter tied up and threatened.
Karine Solloway, a medical company chief who lives in an exclusive London mews next to Regent's Park, was convicted of conspiracy to rob following a break-in at the Cheshire home of tycoon Robert McKendrick in October of last year.
Her trial heard how she orchestrated the plan after being unhappy at McKendrick, 57, ending their five-year affair, and to recoup some of the £850,000 she loaned his ailing business.
Ringleader Paul Prior, a former soldier, and another man had already pleaded guilty to the robbery, while a third man, Kimpton Mativenga, stood trial alongside Solloway in connection with the incident.
He was also found guilty of conspiracy to rob at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday (14 November).
The court heard how on the night of 6 October, three men dressed in black had broken into McKendrick's home in the upmarket village of Alderley Edge while he was in Africa on business.
The three assailants tied up the businessman's wife Priya and his 17-year-old daughter Scarlett before blindfolding them and forcing them to wear ear defenders.
They were then threatened and dragged around for hours, prosecutor Andrew Ford told Chester Crown Court. The men eventually left with £100,000 worth of jewellery and valuables.
When some of the stolen property was traced back to Prior's London address via his eBay account, police found phone conversations revealing he been in contact with Solloway.
Ford said the break-in came after Solloway, 59, and McKendrick had an affair that had lasted a "number of years".
Solloway, who runs a medical services firm, had also lent McKendrick a significant amount of money after his business ventures in Africa faced difficulties, Ford said.
Eventually McKendrick ended the affair and relations between the pair "went bitter", the court heard.
"[Solloway] says he promised her children, and said he would leave his wife for her," Ford said.
The prosecution claimed Solloway became obsessed with retrieving the money she had given McKendrick, and after meeting Prior through friends, hired him to rob her ex-lover's house. Mativenga was then allegedly hired as "muscle".
Solloway was in Moscow at the time of the incident but the jury were shown transcripts of messages between her and Prior in the days following the robbery, where they discussed the sale of jewellery.
"Karine Solloway was never meant to be present at the robbery, but the messaging shows she was backing it," Ford said.
Solloway, of Park Crescent Mews West, London, wept as she was taken to the cells after being convicted. She is expected to be jailed when she is sentenced next month.
Speaking after the hearing, Priya and Robert McKendrick said the verdicts had come as a "massive relief".
"It does restore your faith in the justice system," Priya McKenrick said, according to the Daily Mail. "The police have been fantastic and supported us throughout it all. It is the end of the most horrible year."
She added that her daughter Scarlett has been "amazing" since enduring the ordeal.
"She managed to get three As in her A-levels and go on the university despite everything," she said. "It has been a very tough year and it is a huge relief that it is finally over.
"The kids will be over the moon when they hear this. My son was devastated because he felt like he should have been there to protect us, but in the end I'm glad he wasn't there.
"I think it was only because Scarlett and I kept our heads that it wasn't worse."