A young mum caught with an arsenal of guns and ammunition walked free today after insisting she unwittingly looked after the cache in return for the loan of a Maserati.
Bianca Willoughby, 27, of Wadley Close, Hemel Hempstead, was found sat next to her four-year-old son in her Honda Civic in the town when armed officers swooped.
Babs Arogundade, 28, of St Johns Wood, London, was about to select weapons from the stash, which included four shotguns, a loaded Smith and Wesson handgun and a Winchester rifle, the Old Bailey heard.
Willoughby said Arogundade had asked her to look after the bags after he lent her friend his Maserati for a wedding – but insisted she did not know what was inside them.
She told jurors she agreed to do Arogundade a favour two nights earlier when she went to his home to ask for financial support for her business.
She claimed he let her stay the night, but spent most of the time fending off unwelcome sexual advances.
He said ‘I did you a favour, and I would like you to do a favour’Bianca Willoughby, speaking in court
‘He said did your friend enjoy the Maserati, he was saying it would be a lot of money to hire’, Willoughby explained.
‘He said I did you a favour, and I would like you to do a favour.’
She said Arogundade never explained what that favour was, beyond looking after a bag for him until another friend picked it up.
A jury acquitted Willoughby today but convicted Arogundade of 15 counts of possessing guns and ammunition.
The weapons were found in May 2013 when armed police swooped during a surveillance operation focusing Arogundade’s criminal lifestyle.
Both Willoughby and Arogundade were arrested at the scene.
The court heard a set of keys to a Maserati were found stashed with diamond-encrusted Rolex watches under a sink at an address in Isleworth, west London.
Mr Wilkins said it showed Arogundade was ‘storing items at premises under the control of women he knew’.
Willoughby wept as she was acquitted of 15 offences of possessing guns and ammunition, while Arogundade was convicted on each count.
Arogundade was also found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and will be sentenced together at a future hearing.