Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 13:06 UK

Leonardo da Vinci accused in car accident

Madonna of the Yarnwinder
Mr Jones is one of five men on trial in the da Vinci extortion case

One of five men accused of being part of a £4.25m Leonardo da Vinci extortion plot has been involved in a car crash.

Calum Jones, 45, was described as being "shaken" after the incident, which was said to have happened as he made his way to a railway station.

As a result he did not make it to the High Court in Edinburgh on time and no evidence was heard for the day.

Mr Jones and four others deny seeking to extort money for the safe return of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder.

Addressing judge Lady Dorrian in Mr Jones's absence, defence counsel Jack Davidson QC said: "My lady will know Mr Jones is unfortunately not here this morning.

"He was involved in a car accident on his way to the station in the west of Scotland.

"I believe the car was damaged, but I believe the other car was more damaged."

Early finish

The judge agreed to Mr Davidson's suggestion that the case be adjourned for the day.

She told the jury: "Unfortunately, Mr Jones has been in a car accident this morning and apparently is, not surprisingly, shaken as a result."

An early finish had already been planned for today to allow jurors to get away for the Easter break.

Jones, of Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, and four others, deny conspiring to extort £4.25m for the safe return of the Madonna Of The Yarnwinder in 2007.

The Leonardo masterpiece was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfriesshire four years earlier. The men are not accused of that raid.

Also on trial are Marshall Ronald, 53, Robert Graham, 57, and John Doyle, 61, all of Lancashire, and David Boyce, 63, from Lanarkshire.

The trial, now at the end of its fifth week, will continue on Tuesday.



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