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Hatton Garden heist accused Hugh Doyle 'had no knowledge' of scheme

Published 05/01/2016

Hugh Doyle denied any knowledge of his friends' alleged criminal activities
Hugh Doyle denied any knowledge of his friends' alleged criminal activities

A man who allegedly helped facilitate the transfer of stolen jewels from the Hatton Garden raid told a jury he had "no idea" what the ringleaders were planning, despite drinking with them regularly in the past and giving one a key to his office.

Hugh Doyle, 48, of Riverside Gardens, Enfield, north London, is accused of arranging for the thieves to use his Windmill Hill office to transfer the stolen jewellery in May last year.

The Woolwich Crown Court trial was today shown CCTV images of Doyle meeting with his friend and ringleader John "Kenny" Collins, 75, along with William Lincoln, 60, and Daniel Jones, 60, at the Enfield premises before the alleged handover.

Doyle claimed Collins wanted to borrow a van and also use storage space in a loft above the office.

Under questioning from Philip Evans, QC, prosecuting, Doyle admitted he had given Collins a key to a padlock on the office. He said that was so Collins could "let himself in and make a coffee" if he came back to look at the space and nobody was there.

Doyle also told the jury of monthly drinking sessions he shared at the Harlequin pub, north London, with other ringleaders Brian Reader and Terry Perkins, 67, along with Collins, between 1995 and 2011.

Doyle said he knew Perkins for about 15 years and would drink in the small pub with Collins once a month over "a year or two".

Mr Evans said: "You knew, because of those meetings, that Brian Reader and Terry Perkins ... were men that had involved themselves in crime?"

Doyle replied: "I didn't know any specifics about their past."

Mr Evans continued: "You say you didn't know specifically, but you knew ... that Mr Reader and Mr Perkins were two men involved, in their past, in serious crime?"

Doyle said: "I didn't know it was anything about serious crime."

Mr Evans asked: "What did you talk about on these 20 occasions, what were the general topics of conversations?"

Doyle replied: "It was 15 years ago, so I can't remember any specifics, but they were just funny."

Doyle described Collins as "a real Arthur Daley character." He insisted he was friends with Collins, but the others were mere acquaintances.

Mr Evans pressed Doyle on the CCTV, in which he can be seen tapping another ringleader, Daniel Jones, 60, on the arm.

Mr Evans said: "That morning, on the 19th of May, was the first time you'd met Daniel Jones?"

Doyle replied: "First time ever".

He denied making up an excuse to get a colleague and his wife, Jenny, out of the office so the men could use the premises. He also denied accepting payment.

Doyle said: "There was no agreement entered into, I had no knowledge of what was taking place. The car park is a public space."

He added that "never in a million years" would it be a good place to do "something stupid like that".

Mr Evans replied: "That's why you gave him the key."

Jon Harbinson, 42, of Beresford Gardens, Benfleet, Essex, and Lincoln, 60, of Winkley Street, Bethnal Green, are both accused of conspiracy to commit burglary.

Carl Wood, of Elderbek Close, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, is charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, and conspiracy to convert, conceal or transfer criminal property.

Doyle is charged with conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property between January 1 and May 19 2015. He also faces an alternative charge of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property between April 1 and May 19 2015.

All the defendants deny all the charges against them.

Ringleaders Reader, Collins, Jones and Perkins have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit between May 17 2014 and April 5 2015.

Collins, of Bletsoe Walk, Islington; Jones, of Park Avenue, Enfield; Perkins, of Heene Road, Enfield, and Reader, of Dartford Road, Dartford, are due to be sentenced at a later date.

Mr Evans accused Doyle of lying to the jury and pointed out it was the first time the court had heard anything about the arrangement with the key.

Doyle replied: "I am telling the truth. That was dead space for me - if you could use that space to subsidise the rent for the business, it's just good business."

Doyle later complained he had had only "very limited access" to a solicitor due to tight security arrangements at the time the defence case was being prepared.

Mr Evans said: "Is there anything you've thought of which is inaccurate about this defence case statement?"

Doyle replied: "I can't think of anything."

Doyle's wife Jenny Fraser later recalled plans to pick up her mother at 10am on the day of his arrest in May.

She said her husband asked her to come into the office first to sort out problems with the phone lines, and agreed CCTV showed she had left there at 9.50am. But she did not see Doyle meeting the other three men outside, and he did not mention it later.

Mrs Fraser said: "I think I was on the phone, I was on my computer."

She said Doyle played no part in telling her to leave, adding: "I would have been late to go to my mum's house to pick her up for her birthday."

Mrs Fraser said she was not aware Doyle had given a key to Collins, and said the padlock had been changed to a combination lock to avoid the inconvenience of lost keys. This change took place after May, she said.

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