Hatton Garden jewellery raid gang jailed for total of 34 years
Five men involved in the £14 million Hatton Garden jewellery raid have been jailed for up to seven years each, while a sixth was given a suspended sentence.
The ageing gang, with a combined age of 448, carried out the "sophisticated" and meticulously planned break-in over the Easter weekend last year.
Less than a year after the audacious raid, six of the seven men convicted in connection with the burglary were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Wednesday.
Ringleaders John "Kenny" Collins, 75, of Bletsoe Walk, Islington, north London; Daniel Jones, 61, of Park Avenue, Enfield, north London; Terry Perkins, 67, of Heene Road, Enfield, and the group's oldest member, Brian Reader, 77, of Dartford Road, Dartford, Kent, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary last September.
Collins, Jones and Perkins were each given a seven-year prison term.
Jones and Perkins said "Thank you" to the judge as they sat down.
Carl Wood, 59, of Elderbeck Close, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and William Lincoln, 60, of Winkley Street, Bethnal Green, east London, were found guilty of the same offence and one count of and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property, after trial.
Lincoln was also given a seven-year sentence, and Wood was jailed for six years.
Plumber Hugh Doyle, of Riverside Gardens, Enfield, was found guilty of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property between January 1 and May 19 last year.
He was jailed for 21 months, suspended for two years.
Sentencing them, Judge Christopher Kinch QC, said: "The burglary of the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit vault in April 2015 has been labelled by many - including some defendants and advocates in this case - as the biggest burglary in English legal history.
"Whether that assertion is capable of proof, I do not know. However, it is clear that the burglary at the heart of this case stands in a class of its own in the scale of the ambition, the detail of the planning, the level of preparation and the organisation of the team carrying it out, and in terms of the value of the property stolen."
Reader was also due to be sentenced. However, after falling ill in Belmarsh prison and suffering a second stroke, he was not well enough to attend court and will instead be sentenced later.
The Crown Prosecution Service had urged the judge to cast aside sentencing guidelines, submitting that the statutory maximum of 10 years' imprisonment for conspiracy to burgle should be taken as the starting point.
Judge Kinch agreed with this, saying: "In my judgment, this must rank among the worst offences of its type."
He added that the sentencing guidelines were "simply not designed with a case of this scale in mind" and that "nothing other than the maximum sentence permitted by law for anyone conspiring to take part in this exceptional case" would be appropriate.
But refusing the Crown's application for the imposition of criminal behaviour orders (CBOs), Judge Kinch continued that "bearing in mind the relative mature ages of the defendants" he was not satisfied CBOs were necessary.
A statement released on behalf of Doyle read: "We are delighted that the sentence imposed today by the court will enable Mr Doyle to focus on his family and on his business.
"We have lodged an application for permission to appeal against his conviction which will be considered in due course."
Leaving court, Doyle said: "I'm relieved that it's nearly all over. I'd just like to thank my legal team.
"I just want to spend some time with my family now and I've got boilers to fit in north London.
"I've known Ken (John Collins) for quite a few years ... but it's just one of those things.
"I feel sorry for the victims for what's happened because people's lives have been devastated here.
"I'm sorry for any inconvenience."
Renewing an appeal for information about missing thief Basil, Detective Superintendent Craig Turner, head of the Met's Flying Squad, said: "The individual known as 'Basil' remains unknown. We believe he let the group in and possibly disarmed the alarm.
"Basil is still wanted in connection with the burglary and we would ask anyone who has information as to the identity of 'Basil' or the whereabouts of the outstanding jewellery, to contact police. We are offering a reward of up to £20,000 for information leading to his arrest and conviction and the recovery of the outstanding property."
Branding the gang as "callous" career criminals, he continued: "For many of the victims these safety deposit boxes represented their livelihood. They put their most valuable property into the vault to keep safe during the bank holiday weekend only to see it cruelly snatched away."
Belfast Telegraph Digital