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Hatton Garden raid: 'Wife of accused waited six months to mention alibi'

Published 16/12/2015

Court artist sketch of (left to right) Carl Wood, William Lincoln, Jon Harbinson and Hugh Doyle at Woolwich Crown Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)
Court artist sketch of (left to right) Carl Wood, William Lincoln, Jon Harbinson and Hugh Doyle at Woolwich Crown Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

The wife of a Hatton Garden burglary suspect waited more than six months to tell authorities she could provide an alibi for him, a court has heard.

Carl Wood, 58, is accused of being one of the men who broke into Hatton Garden Safe Deposit in central London on the night of April 2.

He is alleged to have also returned on the night of April 4, but walked away from the job after finding the fire escape door closed.

The prosecution argue that a suspect identified as Man F in CCTV footage of the burglary is Wood.

But Wood, who suffers from Crohn's disease, claims he was at home with his wife, Paula Wood, on both nights, having attended a family barbecue in Cheshunt in Hertfordshire to which Daniel Jones, 60, was invited on the evening of April 4.

Jones has already pleaded guilty to being involved in the £14 million raid on the vault in the heart of London's diamond district.

Prosecutor Philip Stott put it to Mrs Wood: "The first time that the authorities - the prosecution, the police, the court - were told that you could vouch for your husband's whereabouts was in November this year."

London's Woolwich Crown Court heard that Mrs Wood was interviewed by police on November 21, days before the trial was due to open.

Mr Stott suggested that Mrs Wood would do anything for her husband of 40 years, adding: "What I suggest, Mrs Wood, regretfully, is that you have come to court, taken the oath and then lied about your husband's whereabouts on the night of Thursday April 2."

Mrs Wood replied: "I have not lied."

Mr Stott went on: "In respect of the Saturday night, I suggest to you that you have lied about there being a barbecue in the afternoon.

"What's being suggested is that you and your husband have got together and come up with this explanation, to this jury - on oath, lying to them in order to try and protect him."

She responded: "I cannot stand here and lie on the Bible.

Asked how she felt when her husband was arrested on May 19, Mrs Wood said she was "shocked".

She added: "I thought my husband was coming back the next day. I really did. But I was in shock.

"It was a shock that something that sort of serious ... accusing your husband of."

Jurors also heard evidence from Wood's youngest daughter, Sophia Wood, who said she had attended a barbecue with her son and parents on April 4, at around 5pm.

She also said that, as far as she was aware, Jones was due to attend the event.

Wood, of Elderbeck Close, Cheshunt, denies conspiracy to commit burglary, and one count of conspiracy to convert, conceal or transfer criminal property.

Ringleaders Brian Reader, 76, John "Kenny" Collins, 75, Jones and Terry Perkins, 67, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit between May 17 2014 and 7.30am on April 5 this year.

William Lincoln, 60, of Winkley Street, Bethnal Green, east London, and Jon Harbinson, 42, of Beresford Gardens, Benfleet, Essex, are on trial accused of the same offence.

A fourth man, plumbing engineer 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 this year.

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

One of the thieves, a red-haired man known only as Basil, has not yet been identified.

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

The court also heard evidence from William "Bill" Lincoln who took to the witness box to give evidence in his own defence.

His barrister, Mark Tomassi, asked him: "Were you involved in the burglary at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit?"

Lincoln replied: "No, sir."

When asked if he was able to understand the charges against him, he said: "I am not a divvo, but I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer."

Jurors heard that Lincoln suffers from sleep apnoea, bladder issues and severe osteoarthritis which has led to him having a double hip replacement.

As a result of his ailments, the defendant is unable to work and is in receipt of disability living allowance and employment support allowance.

Lincoln broke down in tears as he recalled an incident with his grandson - the "light of his life" - which saw him end up in an induced coma in hospital.

The court heard he was asked by his daughter to look after the youngster but he was unable to, and while under the care of someone else the then two-year-old suffered a head injury.

After Lincoln said he blamed himself for the accident, Mr Tomassi asked: "When people ask you to do things, what is your reaction?"

He replied: "I never refuse to do anything."

Asked where he was in the early hours of Good Friday, Lincoln told jurors he had been buying fish at Billingsgate fish market - as he did every Friday.

Among the fish he regularly bought were eels for his mother, who lives in Essex. But depending on what his friends and family would ask him for, he would also buy Dover sole, cod, haddock or skate.

Lincoln claimed that he remembered being at the market at around 5am on April 3 - the first night of the burglary - because data from his mobile phone shows he made a call to "Jimmy Two-baths".

He had earlier promised to introduce his friend to the fishmongers at the market so he could buy his own seafood.

Explaining who this was, he told jurors he met "Jimmy" at Porchester Hall Steam Baths in Westminster where visitors would give each other baths.

Lincoln said: "(He's called) Jimmy Two-baths because he goes down twice."

The trial continues on Friday with Lincoln still in the witness box.

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