A bricklayer accused of mugging F1 driver Lando Norris for his £144,000 Richard Mille watch after Wembley's Euro 2020 final told the court he was shown the stolen made-to-measure timepiece in the pub.
The 23 year-old McLaren driver was held in a headlock by an unknown male while the £144,000 Richard Mille timepiece - one of only five in the world - was ripped from his wrist by another man.
He was targeted as he walked to his sports car after England's defeat to Italy on penalties on 11 July 2021.
Liam Williams, 25, from Bootle, Merseyside, is accused of being the person who snatched the timepiece, leaving his DNA on the racing driver's arm.
The Richard Mille 'prototype limited edition McLaren watch', also known as the RM6702, was the only one in the world with a blue strap made to measure for Mr Norris's wrist, Harrow Crown Court has heard.
Williams denies robbery and has told jurors how he travelled to London with friends, hoping to 'bunk in' to Wembley to watch the Euro final as they had no tickets.
'It was last minute thing, I didn't know I was going down until two days before,' he said.
He and three pals drove from Liverpool to north-west London in a black Mercedes, but all failed to buy a ticket for the final, he explained.
Williams said he bumped into a Londoner he knew from a Croatia music festival and ended up watching the final on his mobile phone outside a Wembley pub.
He said: 'After the match at the pub, around 12am, the two other members that were with us left.
'Shortly after, within the hour, the two lads that had joined us, they came back with the watch and were showing it to the three lads I was with.
'At that point I didn't realise that had been stolen.'
John Kearney, defending, asked him: 'They were showing the watch and I think you said at that point you didn't know anyone had been robbed?'
Williams replied: 'No.'
He explained that he had 'popped' his head over to see it, but did not pay too much attenti. He added: 'Conversations were happening I thought they had just found it, I wasn't really in the conversation.'
When asked by Mr Kearney if he had any involvement with the robbery, Williams responded: 'No, I did not.'
Williams was unable to give contact details for the three men he travelled with from Liverpool to London and claimed he no longer spoke to them.
Liam Williams later claimed he received threatening calls warning him to keep his mouth shut about the watch after it was wrenched from the wrist of racing driver Lando Norris.
Williams also accepted his DNA was found on Mr Norris's wrist but he had no explanation for why, the court heard.
Mr Silcott asked Williams why he stopped using that particular phone on 16 July 2021.
He replied: 'Basically, at the party with the lads from London I was on the balcony, and I was on a video call on Instagram discussing the match with a friend from home and these lads having a watch and blah blah blah and one of the lads heard me and it got a bit heated.
'They were saying 'why were you discussing the watch'... I don't know if they thought I was setting them up.'
'Then on the Tuesday I could see all these telephone calls I had a number ringing me in the night and at this point I didn't know who it was but as they were talking to me.
'It was the same lad I had the argument with he was just saying 'don't mention anything about the watch' to 'keep my mouth shut and say no more'
'He kept arguing with me down the phone and next day he did the same thing and just basically threatening me and at this point I thought I'm going to have to change my phone number
'And when I got arrested, I changed my phone number... I was a bit scared I was getting threats and stuff,' said Williams.
When repeatedly asked why he chose not to explain why his DNA was found on Mr Norris' wrist, Williams said: 'Yeah, I chose no comment,'.
Norris had driven with a friend called Max from the Goodwood Festival of Speed to attend the final and parked in the Yellow car park.
In his police statement he explained: 'After attending Wembley Stadium I was speaking to members of the public and noticed Suspect One and Suspect Two walk around my car, while I was talking to other people.
'I noticed them looking at my car and myself and the first one was keeping his head down and had his right hand near his pocket.
'Suspect One slowly approached me and asked me: 'Is this your car?' I don't recall exactly what happened, but Suspect One then went behind me and put his right arm around my neck and his left arm under my back.
'Suspect One pulled me into him and pulled me back on my neck, meaning I was facing the sky and I couldn't see him at this point.
'Suspect One told Suspect Two to grab my watch. He shouted multiple times: 'Grab the watch.'
'Suspect One was holding me the whole time and Suspect Two was trying to grab the watch.
'He struggled for a while and then used force to pull the watch off, leaving scratches on my arm.'
Police officer David Barrett investigated and told the jury a 999 call reporting the robbery was made by witness Jason Parish at six minutes after midnight, but he did not wish to make a statement.
'He said: 'I can't really help you.' He was not interested in getting involved and nobody else came forward.
'There was one other person sitting in a car, but they could not help and several people sitting in a coach said they did not really see anything, but were there, which was not very helpful,' said the officer.
Even Norris' friend Max did not give additional assistance to the police investigation. 'I did not get any statement at all from anybody. Everyone said: 'I can't help, I don't want to get involved.'
'When I contacted them they did not want to give a statement. Nobody wanted to give me any statement at all and Max would not provide a statement.'
When officers visited the home of Williams' parents in Bootle he was not there and they were given permission to search the address without a warrant.
Williams gave himself up to police on July 18, 2021 and when Norris was helicoptered in for an identity parade he failed to pick out the defendant.
Williams told the jury today he ended the night at a party, where the two Londoners were also present. 'I was told if I named anyone there would be consequences, I was threatened.
'They had the watch out at the party, but I did not really want to get involved. I realised the watch was stolen.'
Williams said he later abandoned his phone number because he was in danger. 'I started receiving threats. My suspicion was these lads thought I would give them up for the reward.'
However, prosecutor Mr Silcott suggested there was a more sinister reason for why he stopped using the phone number. 'You knew you committed this robbery and were worried about being traced.'
Williams replied: 'I don't agree with that.'
The prosecutor also accused Williams of shaving off his heard and shaving his head when he knew police were looking for him to foil identification, but the defendant claimed he had done this weeks before the match.
'You have waited until late in the day to give an account that fits the evidence and have used your legal shield to avoid giving an account until the very last moment so the facts you give cannot be checked,' suggested Mr Silcott.
'That's not true,' replied Williams, who is of good character, telling the court he took the advice of a solicitor to not answer police questions.
Referring to grainy CCTV footage of the two robbery suspects the prosecutor said: 'That's you waking with your spoils isn't it? It was you who robbed Lando Norris that evening.
'One of you pulled his neck back and the other pulled the watch off his wrist.'
'You are just making that assumption,' replied Williams. 'I am not telling a story. I am giving my account.'
The trial continues.Read more 2023-03-23T17:41:13Z dg43tfdfdgfd