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Hatton Garden raid accused 'trusted due to links with ringleaders'

Published 07/01/2016

CCTV still of a male in the fire escape corridor at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company, shown to the jury in the raid trial at Woolwich Crown Court (Metropolitan Police/PA)
CCTV still of a male in the fire escape corridor at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company, shown to the jury in the raid trial at Woolwich Crown Court (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The men accused of being involved in the £14 million Hatton Garden raid "lied" in evidence and were trusted to take part in the biggest burglary in English history because of their connections with the "ringleaders", a court has heard.

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.

Carl Wood, 58, of Elderbeck Close, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire; William Lincoln, 60, of Winkley Street, Bethnal Green, east London; and Jon Harbinson, 42, of Beresford Gardens, Benfleet, Essex, face the same charge of conspiracy to commit burglary between May 17 2014 and 7.30am on April 5 2015.

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 January 1 and May 19 last year.

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

In his closing speech, prosecutor Philip Evans told the jury: "Just take a step back, because if, like me, it has become a bit like Groundhog Day, coming to Woolwich in the morning, going back at night - losing a little bit of sight of what this is actually about.

"What we are talking about is £10 million worth of jewellery - £14 million worth of jewellery. That is a staggering sum of money. I imagine many of us would be extremely excited if we were to win the lottery to the tune of £14 million. That is what we are dealing with.

"The property belonged to people who have no doubt worked hard to run their businesses, to get that property together and keep their businesses going."

Mr Evans asked the jury of six men and six women to consider whether the men who have pleaded guilty - the ringleaders - would have trusted those on trial to look after their jewel-laden bags and not take a "peek" inside.

"'Some bags of old shit' - that is how Mr Lincoln describes those bags, as he thought they were. Do you believe that for one second?"

Mr Evans added that the raid had been carefully planned and, while there had been mention of it being an "inside job" earlier in the trial, it was clear that those involved knew what they were doing, knew where the safe deposit boxes were, knew where the alarms were, and knew where the CCTV cameras were.

Referring to the defendants' evidence, he said: "In this case, lies have come from the defendants from that (witness) box. On each of the four occasions that you have heard the defendants give evidence, each of them have told you lies. Some of them might have been half-truths.

"But in the end, the evidence which you have heard is not true."

Mr Evans told the jurors that the men in the dock had been able to put their heads together while serving at HMP Woolwich and come up with a story that they would all stick to.

He said: "The men who have pleaded guilty were a group who thrived on acquisitive crime - taking people's money and possessions, greed in reality. What they needed were people who wouldn't question that."

The court heard that Wood was chosen because of his connection with Jones, with whom he would go on regular walks and who he knew was a "crook".

Mr Evans also highlighted that in his evidence Doyle admitted knowing Reader, Perkins and Collins, and often going drinking with them in a pub near Hatton Garden.

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