Kent

Cage-fighter jailed over £53m Kent Securitas raid

Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent
Image caption The depot manager and his family were kidnapped at gunpoint

A cage-fighter has been jailed in Morocco for his part in the UK's biggest cash raid at a Securitas depot.

Lee Murray, 30, originally from south London, was named during the trial of other gang members as the "mastermind" of the £53m raid in Kent in 2006.

Kent Police said Murray must serve 10 years in jail in Morocco for his involvement.

A spokesman for the force said Murray was deemed to be Moroccan and could not be extradited to the UK.

'Held at gunpoint'

Det Supt Mick Judge said the Kent force had worked with the Moroccan authorities to ensure Murray was prosecuted.

He said: "I'm pleased Murray will now begin serving a significant prison sentence for his part in the Tonbridge robbery."

More than 13 people were charged with offences in connection with the robbery. Six people were convicted.

Depot manager Colin Dixon and family were kidnapped at gunpoint by men posing as police officers to allow the gang to gain entry.

Det Supt Judge added: "We must not forget the traumatic experience the Dixons and the Securitas employees went through that night in 2006 - held at gunpoint and fearing for their lives."

Image caption Lee Murray is believed to have been the robber known as "Stopwatch"

He said Murray played a key role in the conspiracy to kidnap the Dixons and rob the depot.

Lee Murray's solicitor Abdellah Benlanhidi said the verdict was too harsh and they would appeal against it. He said Murray had been in jail for four years, which meant he had another six years to serve.

Last June, the Moroccan authorities refused to extradite Murray after establishing his Moroccan nationality.

Earlier trials in the UK had heard how Murray began plotting Britain's biggest robbery in the summer of 2005.

It is thought that Murray, wearing a prosthetic disguise, was one of the fake police officers who ambushed depot manager Colin Dixon and abducted his wife and child.

Murray is also believed to have been the robber dubbed "Stopwatch" by detectives because he was seen on the CCTV tape bossing the gang around and timing their every move.

Conversation recorded

He organised the raid with military precision and ensured the gang left the depot after being on site for less than an hour.

Four days after the robbery in February 2006, Murray fled to Morocco.

Murray inadvertently provided key evidence for police when he crashed his car shortly before the robbery, and fled the scene leaving his mobile phone in the vehicle.

He had accidentally pressed the record button on the handset during a conversation about the robbery with fellow plotter Lea Rusha, which was later recovered and used by prosecutors.

On the night of the raid, 14 Securitas staff members were terrorised and tied up at gunpoint as the robbers loaded cash on to a lorry.

Police have recovered £21m and have still to uncover the rest.

Prosecutors have said they are determined to track down the money and recent inquiries have been focused on the Middle East.

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