Young mother ‘held gun stash in exchange for Maserati loan’

Bianca Willoughby pictured outside the Old Bailey. Photo: Central News
Bianca Willoughby pictured outside the Old Bailey. Photo: Central News

A young mum caught with guns and ammunition in the boot of her car claimed she she was holding the cache in return for the loan of a Maserati, a court has heard.

Bianca Willoughby, 27, of Wadley Close in Hemel Hempstead, was found sat next to her four-year-old son in her Honda Civic when armed officers swooped on the parked car in her hometown.

Babs Arogundade, 28, was about to select from the stash, which included four shotguns, a loaded Smith and Wesson handgun and a Winchester rifle, the Old Bailey heard.

When arrested Willoughby claimed she had no idea they were firearms, but said Arogundade had earlier lent her his Maserati for a wedding.

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.

Prosecutor Tom Wilkins said it showed Arogundade was ‘storing items at premises under the control of women he knew’.

He added: “Both of these defendants are now attempting to blame one another for the possession of these firearms – a cut-throat defence.

“When in fact we say they are both guilty and simply have no defence.

“They were both there by arrangement. They had joint possession, knowledge and control over these firearms.”

The weapons were discovered in May 2013 during a surveillance operation centred around Arogundade’s alleged criminal lifestyle.

“Armed officers intercepted a blue Honda Civic parked in Hemel Hempstead and found Willoughby sitting in the drivers seat with her four-year-old son sitting next to her,” said Mr Wilkins.

“Inside the boot were four shotguns, a hand gun and a rifle together with compatible ammunition.”

Arogundade was standing by the boot with a sports bag, said Mr Wilkins.

“The prosecution say he brought that bag and would have used it to take back whichever firearms he was going to select from Willoughby’s car.”

The jury were shown photographs of bags containing a Smith and Wesson revolver containing one bullet, a Winchester rifle with seven rounds, a sawn off pump-action shotgun and three other shotguns with more than 300 shells.

Mr Wilkins said the stash could ‘really only be described as an arsenal of guns and ammunition’.

“They were arrested at the scene,” the prosecutor went on. “She denied absolutely any knowledge of the firearms found in the car. She said he had placed them all in the boot of her car.

“She was going to carry them for him for the loan of the Maserati for a wedding about a month earlier.”

The pair are standing trial for 15 offences for possessing guns and ammunition.

Arogundade, along with Fred Jones-Lartey, 34, is also accused of conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Arogundade, of Hatton Street, St Johns Wood, northwest London, and Willoughby deny 15 counts of possessing guns and ammunition.

Arogundade and Jones-Lartey, of no fixed address, also deny conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

The trial continues.