Estonian president pardons man who robbed jewelry stores in UK

  • 2024-01-09
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian President Alar Karis has granted a pardon to a man who is serving a long prison sentence for robbing jewelry stores in the United Kingdom and who was sent to Estonia to serve his sentence, reducing his prison term by six years, the daily Postimees writes.

On Dec. 28, Karis signed a decision to pardon 34-year-old Rainis Kilk, reducing his 15-year prison sentence to nine years. Kilk's sentence started on March 25, 2015, when he was arrested in the UK. Thus, with the presidential pardon decision, his prison sentence will end at the end of March.

The president's office did not comment much on the president's pardon decision.

"An act of pardon is the president's discretionary decision and an act of mercy," Indrek Treufeldt, the president's public relations adviser, said. 

On Nov. 30, 2015, the Leeds Crown Court convicted Rainis Kilk and his accomplices Alar Kaljurand and Taimar Uibopuu of jewel robberies committed in the UK. Kaljurand and Kilk were sentenced to 18 years in prison and Uibopuu to 15 years by the court's decision.

The robberies took place on Feb. 25, 2015 at a jewelry store on Oxford Street in London and on March 24 of the same year at a jewelry store on Albion Street in Leeds.

The trio were caught by the police after the robbery in Leeds. At a hearing at Leeds Crown Court, the prosecutor showed security camera footage of Kaljurand entering the Leeds jewelry store, pointing a gun at staff and forcing the security guard to back down. Then Kilk and Uibopuu entered the store, broke the display cases using hammers and took watches from the cases. In total, the robbers stole altogether 940,000 British pounds' worth of watches, which amounts to nearly 1.1 million euros.

The security guard of the store intervened in the robbers' activities and Kilk ended up getting into a fight with the guard. While fleeing the scene, random passers-by caught Uibopuu, tackled him on the street and handed him over to the police who arrived. Kaljurand and Kilk managed to escape from the scene. They went to Leeds railway station where they boarded a train to Manchester. The police caught Kaljurand and Kilk a day later, on March 25.

When the men were arrested, it turned out that the weapon with which the robber threatened the store employees was an air pistol.

The second robbery episode took place on Feb. 25 on Oxford Street in London, where two robbers took six Cartier watches worth 30,000 pounds, or nearly 35,000 euros, at gunpoint.

Rainis Kilk spent the first five years of his sentence in the UK, but in the fall of 2020, the British authorities decided to send him to Estonia to serve his sentence. In February 2021, the Harju County Court reduced the 18-year prison sentence given to Kilk in the UK by three years to 15 years, as this sentence is the longest prison term that can be handed out for robbery according to the Estonian Penal Code.

On Dec. 28, President Alar Karis reviewed the pardon requests of 16 other convicts, but decided not to grant their requests.