Hatton Garden jewellery heist: Final three guilty over £14m burglary

  • 14 January 2016
  • From the section London
Media captionWho are the Hatton Garden masterminds?

The gang of "brazen burglars" involved in the £14m Hatton Garden jewellery raid are facing jail after the final three were convicted of involvement.

The "largest burglary in English legal history" took place at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd in London's jewellery quarter over Easter last year.

Four "ringleaders" had already pleaded guilty. Two had been involved in the Brinks Mat and Security Express raids.

The gang raided safe deposit boxes for jewels after boring into the vault.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Carl Wood, William Lincoln and Hugh Doyle were all found guilty of their involvement in the heist

Carl Wood, William Lincoln and Hugh Doyle were connected to the £14m Hatton Garden jewellery raid, a jury at Woolwich Crown Court decided.

Jon Harbinson - Lincoln's nephew - was cleared of playing a part in the heist last Easter weekend. He has been set free after eight months in custody.

Four men - Brian Reader, Kenny Collins, Terry Perkins and Daniel Jones - had admitted conspiracy to commit burglary.

Two other people were convicted earlier in connection with criminal property offences.

Media captionDaniel Sandford finds out why the raid was a team effort

During the raid the gang used heavy cutting equipment to get into a vault at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd and ransack 56 safe deposit boxes.

CCTV footage showed some of the gang members arriving in a white van and unloading tools, on 2 April.

However, they were unable to gain access to the vault after discovering it was blocked off by a metal cabinet.

They returned with different equipment two nights later to finish the job.

The Hatton Garden Job

Comic strip: How the raid was carried out

Once inside, they used the lift shaft to access the basement, disabled the alarm and bored through the vault wall.

They were eventually seen emerging from the building with holdalls and wheelie bins laden with stolen goods.

Gold, diamonds and sapphires, together worth up to £14m, were taken. Two thirds of the valuables remain unrecovered.

Det Supt Craig Turner from the Metropolitan Police said: "The weight of evidence was so strong that half the gang chose to plead guilty.

"It was an audacious, brazen burglary that was some three years in the planning."

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption "Ringleaders" - Brian Reader, Kenny Collins, Terry Perkins, Daniel Jones - old-fashioned crime methods led police to their doorsteps, the court heard

Another man, known only as "Basil", who let his co-conspirators into the Hatton Garden building by opening the fire escape from inside is yet to be identified.

The police are offering a £20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

Reviewing lawyer Ed Hall from the Crown Prosecution Service said: "The four main ringleaders, a close-knit group of experienced criminals, some of whom had been involved in other high-value crimes, pleaded guilty after realising the strength of the case against them.

"As a result of this trial, three other men who played significant roles, including the moving and concealing the stolen gold and jewels, have also been convicted."

Defendants and verdicts

  • Carl Wood, 58, of Elderbeck Close, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire: Guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property
  • William Lincoln, 60, of Winkley Street, Bethnal Green: Guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property
  • Hugh Doyle, 48, of Riverside Gardens, Enfield: Guilty of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property
  • Daniel Jones, 60, of Park Avenue, Enfield; John Collins, 75, of Bletsoe Walk, Islington; Terry Perkins, 67, of Heene Road, Enfield, and Brian Reader, 76, of Dartford Road, Dartford, have all previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.
  • Jon Harbinson, 42, of Beresford Gardens, Benfleet, Essex: Found not guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property

The court heard the conspirators would meet to make plans at The Castle pub on Pentonville Road in Islington, and Scotti's, a nearby cafe.

During the trial it was revealed that Reader had been involved in the £26m Brinks Mat gold bullion robbery, and Perkins in the £6m Security Express raid which both took place in 1983.

They were arrested after police bugged their cars and heard them bragging.

Perkins was heard saying: "I'm going to melt my good gold down. The Indian, the 18, that could be my pension."

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Rings worth up to £15,000 each, and other jewels were found by police following the burglary, the court heard.

During the case, prosecutor Philip Evans told the jury: "These four ringleaders and organisers of this conspiracy, although senior in years, brought with them a great deal of experience in planning and executing sophisticated and serious acquisitive crime not dissimilar to this.

"This offence was to be the largest burglary in English legal history."

There was no forensic trace left at the vault by the gang, but police found a number of stolen goods during house searches as well as a copy of Forensics For Dummies at Jones's house and a book on the diamond underworld at Reader's home.

All seven are expected to be sentenced on 7 March.

Special reports into the Hatton Garden raid

It can now be reported that Perkins' daughter, Terri Robinson, 35, of Sterling Road, Enfield, also faces being jailed. She pleaded guilty to concealing, converting or transferring criminal property.

Her brother-in-law, Brenn Walters, 43, who is also known as Ben Perkins, admitted the same offence.

The Met Police had faced criticism over its handling of the case after it emerged it had not followed procedures after receiving a call from a security firm about an intruder alert at the premises at midnight on Good Friday.

Following the verdict, Det Supt Turner said: "We apologise for not actually attending the alarm. It is quite clear that police should have attended. We have reviewed all our systems and processes."

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption The burglars caused damage to the vault including broken doors and gates
Image copyright PA
Image caption The Forensic for Dummies book was found during a police search of Jones's house

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