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Friday, 22 March, 2002, 15:56 GMT
Minnelli victim of attempted robbery
Liza Minnelli and David Gest
Minnelli married David Gest on Sunday
Oscar-winner Liza Minnelli has been the victim of an attempted robbery while on her honeymoon in London with her fourth husband, David Gest.

Thieves tried to snatch a £10,000 diamond necklace from her through an open window when her car stopped at traffic lights.

The chauffeur realised what was happening and drove off, trapping one youth's hand in the electric window.

Liza Minnelli seen in London on 22 March, a day after the attempted robbery
The entertainer regards London as her 'second home'
Ms Minnelli initially described the attack as "terrifying", but in a statement on Friday she and her husband joked: "We're New Yorkers, so nothing scares us."

Ms Minnelli's spokesman told BBC media correspondent Nick Higham the incident took place in Holland Park, west London.

The spokesman said Ms Minnelli thought at first that she was being approached by an autograph hunter.

The incident was over so quickly that the couple did not immediately realise the thieves were after Ms Minnelli's necklace, her spokesman said.

But a paparazzo who had been following them saw the whole incident.

"It was only once they stopped that the photographer told them what had actually happened," her spokesman said.

'Frightening'

The couple had been driving back from an interview with BBC One's Jonathan Ross when the assault happened.

She was quoted in the Evening Standard newspaper as saying: "It was incredible. It was so terrifying.

"There were these three kids who just picked on us at the lights. They obviously saw what I was wearing and tried to grab it.

"Luckily, they had no joy and we got away. It was really horrific, very frightening."

Newly weds

However, the couple recovered sufficiently from their ordeal to have dinner at a club in Mayfair, central London, later in the evening.

And on Friday she emerged from her London hotel to say: "I'm feeling great, I feel fine. I'm having a great time in London, this is my second home."

She played down the attempted theft and said it was: "Just a few kids fooling around."

The Cabaret star married her fourth husband David Gest at a star-studded ceremony on Sunday.

Chauffeur John Gilroy told the BBC he was reluctant to be portrayed as a hero.

"We came up to the lights and these three guys came forward," he explained.

"Because of the sort of people I drive, I always drive with the doors locked but one of the rear windows was open.

"I closed it quickly and got us all out of there."

The couple did not report the incident to the police.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Higham
"Their London honeymoon was rudely disturbed"
See also:

17 Mar 02 | Americas
Minnelli weds for fourth time
17 Mar 02 | Americas
In pictures: Stars turn out for Liza
15 Mar 02 | Showbiz
Minnelli's turbulent times
15 Mar 02 | Film
Filmography: Liza Minnelli
22 Jan 02 | Showbiz
Minnelli to play Albert Hall
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