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Man convicted over biggest cash robbery ‘critical’ after shooting

Armed officers were called to the scene.

The scene in Malvern Drive, Woodford Green, where a man named locally as Paul Allen was shot (Samar Maguire/PA)
The scene in Malvern Drive, Woodford Green, where a man named locally as Paul Allen was shot (Samar Maguire/PA)

A man shot at a house owned by comedian Russell Kane has been named locally as Paul Allen, a cage fighter convicted for his part in planning Britain’s biggest cash robbery.

A witness claimed 41-year-old Allen was shot in the throat during the incident, in which the attacker was said to have appeared at the back of the property in a car at around 11pm on July 11, before firing at the home six times.

Armed officers, along with medics, were called to the scene in Malvern Drive, Woodford Green, north-east London, and the victim was taken to hospital with gunshot injuries.

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Allen was jailed for 18 years for his part in Britain’s largest ever cash robbery (Kent Police/PA)

Scotland Yard said he remains in a critical condition and a man in his 50s has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and firearms offences.

Allen was jailed for 18 years for his role in the £53 million heist at the Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent, in February 2006.

The witness, who asked to remain anonymous, told PA: “I was there outside just after the attack had happened. Neighbours had gathered outside the front of the house.

“The gunman had driven to the back of his house and gone through the garden. The back of his house is just a big window, so you can see inside clearly.

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The scene on Malvern Drive in Woodford Green (Samar Maguire/PA)

“Whoever it was then shot six times into the window. This was before all I see is police arriving, an ambulance and a Swat team with guns.

“We waited outside the house. Then I saw him taken out on a stretcher. He was covered in blood, on his stomach, his neck. The paramedics said that he had been shot in the neck.”

The witness said medics were there “for about an hour”.

“They were all stood there in complete silence. All we could hear was the heart monitor,” he said.

The man said a woman was in “hysterics” and described the scene as “like something in a war film”.

He added that neighbours did not feel under threat, saying: “It was definitely a targeted attack.”

“The gunman left in a vehicle that waited for them in the back and left after the shooting.”

Other neighbours claimed to have heard the attack.

One woman, who asked not to be named, said: “I was half asleep in my bed, before I heard a loud bang, but I thought it was fireworks. Then I heard a few more bangs. I didn’t think anything of it, so I went to sleep.

“We aren’t that concerned. It’s not something you would expect down this road, but it was a targeted attack.

“And police are still here after two days, so we feel safe.”

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Forensic officers arrive at the scene (Samar Maguire/PA)

Allen was the trusted lieutenant of Lee ‘Lightning’ Murray, who masterminded the Securitas heist.

The heist saw a gang, with some posing as police officers, kidnap the manager of the Securitas depot and his family at gunpoint.

Police later recovered £21 million of the missing cash, but the remaining £32 million was never found.

Allen, then a father-of-three, admitted charges of conspiracy to rob, kidnap and possess firearms in relation to the heist at Woolwich Crown Court in September 2009 as a retrial was about to begin.

He pleaded guilty on the basis that he was not one of the robbers who entered the depot, or one of the kidnappers, and that he did not handle any firearms.

Allen fled to Morocco with Murray before he was arrested after four months and locked up in Rabat prison.

He spent 20 months in the jail before he was brought back to Britain to face trial in January 2008.

Allen was jailed for 18 years and was later excused from paying back his alleged share during a secret court hearing.

On Saturday, police were still at the scene, where the road is cordoned off to members of the public.

The house is understood to be rented by stand-up and television comic Kane, who lives in Manchester.

His spokeswoman said: “Russell’s thoughts are with the victim and his family at this terrible time.  No further comments will be made whilst the incident is being investigated by the police.”

PA

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