Watch dealer ‘took own life’ day after robbery at jewellers, say family

FinanceMay 30, 2024 /idopress/

Alana Dredge has paid tribute to her boyfriend Oliver White,who was found dead on Sunday

The parents of a watch dealer who fell victim to a violent robbery at his workplace the day before he died have said they believe he took his own life because of the “distress and anguish” it caused.

Oliver White,27,was found dead less than 36 hours after two unarmed assailants entered the store in Richmond,south west London on Saturday.

Video footage which went viral on social media showed one suspect placing the sales manager in a headlock,before both assailants made off with several high value watches from the store,247 Kettles,at around 2.50pm.

On Tuesday evening,his parents said they believed their son had taken his own life because of the “anguish and distress” of the robbery,adding that he returned home “traumatised and unable to speak”.

Mr White’s parents also stressed how a video of the robbery was shared “widely on social media”.

Two suspects stormed the Richmond jewellers on Saturday

In a statement issued by police,they said: “Our son Oliver returned home from his place of work on Saturday traumatised and unable to speak.

“He had been the victim of a terrifying attack and high-value robbery at his place of work,which was later shared widely on social media.

“Sadly,it is our belief that Oliver subsequently took his own life due to the anguish and distress of this terrible incident.

“As a family we are devastated by the loss of our beautiful,funny,loyal boy,who lit up every room he walked into.

“We are desperately trying to make sense and come to terms with this tragic incident and plead that we are given the privacy to grieve without additional stress and intrusion into our lives.”

Mr White was not seriously injured during the attack and his death is also not believed to be suspicious.

However,following a report concerning his safety,police found the sales manager dead the next day just over a mile from the home he shared with his mother and stepfather in Shepperton,North Surrey.

On Tuesday,friends claimed the young man was “filled with a lot of worry” after it had been established that £2.8 million worth of watches had been taken in the raid,and fearing “he would get the blame” for what had happened.

‘Cherished’ forever

Meanwhile,Mr White’s girlfriend Alana Dredge paid tribute to the young man and said she would “cherish” him “forever”.

The robbery took place just under three years after 247 Kettles was targeted by another heist during which £500,000 worth of jewellery and watches was taken from the firm’s then-headquarters in Egham,Surrey.

CCTV footage of the September 2021 incident,published by the MailOnline,showed three balaclava-clad men smashing through glass doors with sledgehammers and crowbars to access the store,which was based in a business park.

The firm’s co-founder Conor Thornton said at the time: “We had bought a safe weighing 750kg for our stock and as we were on a locked business park with 24-hour security,we thought that would make us impenetrable.

“In the event,they used a sledgehammer to smash our floor to ceiling windows and then shoved the safe out onto the road below.”

It is understood the company moved to its current Richmond base two months later.

Today,it operates on the third floor of an office building near Richmond station in west London.

Customers entering the shop have to be met in reception and let into the main building by a staff member.

The store was closed on Tuesday and a spokesman for 247 Kettles declined to respond to requests for a comment.

A friend told the Mail Online that Mr White,known by friends as “Olli”,was “petrified” following the incident,saying: “He was very depressed after the robbery and was filled with a lot of worry especially after it was established that around £2.8 million worth of watches had been stolen.

“Olli was petrified that he could lose all that he owns and that they might even take his mother’s house.

“He was also traumatised by what happened and became very fearful about the impact this robbery could have on his and his family’s financial future.”

Another anonymous friend told the website that Mr White was concerned about how much insurance cover was in place.

He said: “He wasn’t sure if the insurance would have covered the theft or if there was any insurance at all.

“The robbery left him broken and combined with the financial uncertainty over who would be responsible he couldn’t see another way out.”

He ‘took it very personally’

The friend added: “Olli took it very personally and really believed that he would get all the blame and that it would ruin him.”

Sharing a tribute on Instagram Mr White’s partner,Ms Dredge,wrote: “The last thing you said to me was I love you.

“I will cherish you forever,being with you was the best six years of my life.”

She said she would “continue” to make her partner proud,adding: “I keep sending you [WhatsApps] hoping this is all a nightmare and you’ll reply.

“I don’t know how I’ll do my life without you,my whole world has ended. My life will never be the same again,I can’t explain how much I love you.”

Yesterday,Mr White’s family were comforting each other at the semi-detached family home in Shepperton,Surrey.

Neighbours on the quiet street said the family had only been living in the house for around two years.

One resident said: “They are a lovely family and he seemed like a lovely boy. We are so shocked to hear about what’s happened.”

Floral tributes,along with blue and gold balloons,were left on the road police found Mr White’s body.

One note read: “Thank you for every time you lit up the room and put a smile on our faces. We will cherish every time we spent with you forever and always.”

A Surrey Police spokesman said: “Officers were called to Sheep Walk,in Shepperton,on Sunday May 26 shortly after 8.15pm following a report of a concern for safety at the location.

“A man in his 20s was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin are aware and are being supported.

“Enquiries are still ongoing,but his death is not thought to be suspicious.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman has said: “We are aware of the death of a man in Surrey on Sunday May 26.

“The man who died was the victim of a robbery at a jewellers in Richmond on Saturday,May 25.”

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