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Hatton Garden accused 'did not fit script for the crime'

Published 08/01/2016

CCTV footage of a suspect at a fire escape side door (Met Police/PA)
CCTV footage of a suspect at a fire escape side door (Met Police/PA)

One of the men accused of the Hatton Garden burglary could not have been involved in the raid because there must have been an "inside man" involved, a court heard.

Carl Wood, 58, is alleged to have been part of a gang of thieves that broke into Hatton Garden Safe Deposit between April 2 and April 5 last year, stealing goods to the value of £14 million.

But he could not have played the role alleged by the prosecution because it would not fit the script for the crime - likely to give rise to films called "Bad Grandpas" or "Enfield Expendables" - Nick Corsellis, defending Wood, argued.

CCTV footage of the raid shows the group first entering the building on April 2. The prosecution allege that a man identified as "Man F" in the clip is Wood.

The video shows Man F returning to the scene on the second night of the raid, but leaving after finding the fire escape door locked.

Wood denies this is him, and argues there must have been someone with inside information involved in the burglary - someone with the kind of expertise he does not have.

Mr Corsellis said: "This case has given you a glimpse of the inside track to serious organised crime. This is an important aspect of Mr Wood's defence. The reason is, that the way that this crime was planned and effected demonstrates Mr Wood's innocence.

"Criminals who are going to take part in this exercise do so for one reason only. Money, and hopefully lots of it. It's not about improving your reputation, publicity or Instagram following. It's not about doing a person down on his luck a favour. It's all about the money."

Mr Corsellis said it was clear the gang had one member familiar with the area - a red-haired man known only as Basil, who is yet to be identified.

He added that anyone involved in the burglary must have had the necessary skills to be able to assist on the nights in question - an alarm man, an electrician, a lift engineer.

Jurors heard that "general dogsbody", Wood, had nothing to offer the gang, and that Man F could not simply have been an extra pair of hands (EPH).

Mr Corsellis said: "And what would they have said about Mr Wood on such an analysis? We need someone to touch up the paint when we leave?"

He also said that Wood would have been an unlikely choice because there could be no guarantees he would not be in hospital receiving treatment for Crohn's disease.

Referring to the prosecution closing speech, Mr Corsellis continued: "As Mr (Philip) Evans said, there will be times in the future when this case will be referred to in public. On the radio, in a book, on TV?

"Well since the prosecution have raised the topic it would be wrong of me not to address it. More likely on the big screen. You can imagine the film titles. "Bad Grandpas?" "The Enfield Expendables?"

"The comedy is clearly there, and if so who would play Carl Wood? Who would take a look at the script and say 'yeah, I wanna take the EPH'?

"Male F was not an EPH - he was a player - an inside man."

Mr Corsellis asked the jury: "Do you think Mr Tom Hardy or Vinnie Jones is going to rush to take the part of the EPH?

"It doesn't fit the script does it? Because an EPH is illogical. Implausible. Unrealistic.

"It makes no sense as there was no EPH. Because Male F was actually a player. An inside man, or linked to the inside man - fully familiar with the inner workings of Hatton Garden Safe Deposit."

Ringleaders John "Kenny" Collins, 75, Daniel Jones, 60, Terry Perkins, 67, and Brian Reader, 76, have all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit.

Four other men are on trial at Woolwich Crown Court in south east London, accused of being involved in the raid.

They are: Wood, of Elderbeck Close, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire; William Lincoln, 60, of Winkley Street, Bethnal Green, east London; and Jon Harbinson, 42, of Beresford Gardens, Benfleet, Essex.

They face the same charge of conspiracy to commit burglary between May 17 2014 and 7.30am on April 5 this year.

A fourth man, Hugh Doyle, 48, of Riverside Gardens, Enfield, north London, is jointly charged with them on one count of conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property between 1 January and 19 May, this year.

He also faces an alternative charge of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property between April 1 and May 19, this year.

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