‘Sophisticated’ gang murdered Brit millionaire for his expensive watch ‘after spotting him at Argentinian airport’ – The Sun

A BRITISH millionaire who was fatally shot outside an Argentinian hotel was targetted by 'sophisticated' robbers who spotted his expensive watch cops have revealed.

Matthew Gibbard, 50, was shot dead on Saturday morning outside the £350-a-night five star Faena Art Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


His stepson Stefan Zone, 28, has been left fighting for his life in hospital after also being fired at by the robbers following the terrifying ambush on their 'marked' minibus.

Cops have revealed that the company boss could have been singled out over an expensive watch and followed from Ezeiza Airport in an operation involving a “large gang.”

Four men have already been arrested in raids leading to the seizure of several vehicles in an ongoing operation to apprehend other suspects.

Marcelo d’Alessandro, Security Minister for the City of Buenos Aires, confirmed: “Once we had the CCTV footage of the shooting outside the hotel we were able to identify the vehicles involved and work out the route the suspects had taken when they fled the scene using cameras we have in the city of Buenos Aires.

“We were able to work out where they had gone and this has resulted in 18 search warrants being issued, 12 in the province of Buenos Aires and another six in the city itself.

“Several cars and motorbikes have been seized, including a vehicle involved in the incident itself and forensic experts are now examining it for evidence.

“Four people who formed part of this gang have been arrested.

“It’s a large gang. The detainees include the man who provided the gang with logistics, with the vehicles used in crimes of this type."

TOURISTS TARGETTED

Police believe that the robberies are part of a large scale operation carried out by a 'professional' gang working to spot tourists with valuable items as they arrive at the airport.

The Security Minister added: “It’s not the first crime like this that the gang has carried out.

“The modus operandi consisted of detecting people arriving at the airport with expensive watches and following them to the city to carry out the robbery."

Buenos Aires’ police chief Gabriel Berard, offering details of how the gang targeted victims, also said: “Part of the gang work in the arrivals hall in Ezeiza International Airport.

“They detect the arrival of tourists who could become potential victims, focusing on flights reaching Argentina from the United States and Europe and then they follow people of interest to them.

“They have vehicles waiting outside the airport and tail them.

“The logistics are an important part of it.”

He said the gang made sure they used vehicles which the authorities had not identified as having been used in previous crimes, including recently sold cars and motorbikes with change of ownership paperwork which had yet to be fully completed.

He added: “We are analysing the vehicles that have been seized and are going to keep progressing until we can smash this gang completely.”

BRUTAL ATTACK

Gibbard was fatally shot in the chest, and his stepson seriously injured in the horrific ambush moments after landing in Buenos Aires.

The two attackers had followed the six-strong British family by motorbike after marking their minibus when it left Ezeiza Airport.

Cops said that upon arriving at the exclusive, luxury five-star hotel, the men were attacked by gun-wielding motorcycle robbers in the Puerto Madero district of the capital.

Police said the robbers, who had been circling the area, also had a support vehicle nearby during their 11am ambush.

Mr Gibbard is the director of retirement homes firm Tingdene, which last year posted a turnover of £20million.

He is married to Suzanne, 52, and they live in a huge gates property in Lowick, a picture postcard village in Kettering, Northamptonshire.

Becky Miles, who works in the local pub the Snooty Fox, burst into tears over the tragedy and paid tribute to Mr Gibbard.

She told The Sun: “It’s absolutely terrible, they are lovely people. They were regulars in the pub.

“Matt was such a beautiful, beautiful human being and a true gentleman.

“He did so much for the village and even put the firework display on himself

“They are a very successful family and very popular in the village.”

FAMILY 'MARKED'

Cops believe the robbers had "marked" the family upon arrival at the international airport and that they followed their vehicle to launch a surprise attack.

CCTV footage shows their minibus pull up to the hotel entrance, and a man help them take their luggage from the boot.

But suddenly all hell breaks loose and people are seen scrambling for cover from the vehicle.

The video, published by Argentina’s Perfil newspaper, shows the pair fighting with the robbers on the street until one thug pulls out a gun and shoots one of the men, who falls to the ground.

The other man tries to intervene and he too is shot, before the assailants flee the scene. Witnesses said at least five shots were fired.

Other surveillance footage appears to show three people, believed to be members of the family, fighting off the two attackers.

As the horrendous clip ends one man is seen lying on the floor apparently in agony.



According to initial reports, Mr Gibbard was shot in the armpit and suffered a haemorrhage after the bullet entered his chest.

He died of his wounds shortly after arriving at hospital.

His stepson received a bullet to his left leg which missed his femoral artery and is reportedly in a serious condition.

Three ambulances arrived within minutes which took both to the local Argerich hospital.

One witness, named as Florencia, said he arrived at the scene shortly after the incident.

"I was walking the dog, I see that there were many people in the corner of the Faena [Hotel]," he said.

The driver of the minibus has given a statement to the police.

A spokesman for the hotel said: "We express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims."

Diego Santilli, vice-president of the Buenos Aires City Government, told a press conference where the police chief also detailed the progress of the investigation, that everything was being done to make sure those responsible for the attack on the Brits “felt the full weight of the law and received the maximum punishment.”

He said: “Loss of life is something that cannot be repaired, it’s irreparable. But if there’s an area where we can work, it’s to make sure there’s justice.
“Justice is something we have to make sure is done.”

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are supporting the family of two British men following an incident in Buenos Aires, and are in contact with the local authorities there."

More than 111,000 British nationals visited Argentina in 2018, according to the Foreign Office, which said most visits are "trouble-free".

But tourists are warned to be alert to street crime, including armed robberies, and advised to hand over cash and valuables without resistance.


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