The former world boxing champion Amir Khan has described looking down the barrel of a gun – as an armed robber forced him to hand over his £70,000 diamond-encrusted watch – as scarier than anything he has faced in the ring.
The 2004 Olympic silver medallist told a court that he could hear his wife, Faryal Makhdoom, “screaming and crying” next to him as the robber pointed a gun at his face and said: “Take off the watch.”
The couple were leaving the Sahara Grill restaurant in Leyton, east London, last April, when a man who had covered his face with a scarf ran up to Khan and pushed the boxer against his car, the jurors at Snaresbrook crown court in east London heard on Tuesday.
“It happened quite fast. I thought maybe it was someone messing about,” said Khan, 36. “Next I see a gun pointed in my face. It’s the first time I have ever seen a gun.”
Asked how close the robber was to him, the Bolton-born boxer, who now lives in Dubai, told the court: “Very close. He was really close.
“I remember the gun – a foot from my face. I remember looking right into the barrel there, looking into the gun barrel.”
He added: “I’m a sportsman, I’m a fighter. I have always been put in the toughest situations when I go into the ring and fight someone, but this was totally different, very, very scary.”
After carrying out a “carefully planned and executed robbery” of Khan’s bespoke, rose gold Franck Muller watch, 20-year-old gunman Dante Campbell ran off with another robber, the court was told.
Campbell, from Hornsey, north London, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to robbery and possession of an imitation firearm, jurors were told.
Ismail Mohamed, 24, Nurul Amin, 25, and Ahmed Bana, 25, who all live in north London, are on trial where they deny conspiracy to rob. Bana also denies possessing an imitation firearm.
Amin and Mohamed, along with another man who is not on trial, are said to have acted as “spotters” – dining in the restaurant to keep track of Khan’s movements and relay them by phone to Bana.
Khan, who revealed the watch had been a free gift and that his insurance had expired two weeks before it was stolen, told the media immediately after the robbery that “the hit” had been orchestrated by a member of his inner circle. He told the court he had been mistaken.
The trial continues.