Court convicts three men in Hatton Garden burglary case, one man acquitted

Court convicts three men in Hatton Garden burglary case, one man acquitted

Three men have been found guilty of being involved in the £14 milllion Hatton Garden raid – believed the biggest burglary in British history.

The gang of thieves carried out the “sophisticated” and meticulously planned break-in over the Easter weekend last year.

They ransacked 73 boxes at Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Ltd after using a drill to bore a hole into the vault wall.

Valuables worth up to £14 million, including gold, diamonds and sapphires, were taken.

Two thirds of them remain unrecovered.

Carl Wood, 58, of Elderbeck Close, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire; and William Lincoln, 60, of Winkley Street, Bethnal Green, east London, were convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property.

Jon Harbinson, 42, of Beresford Gardens, Benfleet, Essex, was cleared of the two offences.

Plumber Hugh Doyle, 48, of Riverside Gardens, Enfield, north London, was found guilty of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property between January 1 and May 19 this year.

None of the men showed any reaction as they were convicted.

Another thief, known only as “Basil”, let his co-conspirators into the building by opening the fire escape from inside. He has not been identified.

All of the men are due to be sentenced by Judge Christopher Kinch QC on March 7.

Ringleaders John ``Kenny'' Collins, 75, Daniel Jones, 60, Terry Perkins, 67, and the group's oldest member Brian Reader, 76, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary last September.

It can now also be reported that Perkins’s daughter Terri Robinson, 35, of Sterling Road, Enfield, faces being jailed alongside him after she pleaded guilty to concealing, converting or transferring criminal property.

Court convicts three men in Hatton Garden burglary case, one man acquitted

Her brother-in-law Brenn Walters, 43, who is also known as Ben Perkins, also admitted the same offence.

Doyle was readmitted to bail, with Judge Kinch saying: ``He has been convicted, albeit of the slightest of counts on the indictment of any defendant in this case.

“Nonetheless, his conviction (is) in relation to involvement in an extremely significant matter, and one which is likely to carry or result in a custodial sentence.

“That said, I take the view that he has acted responsibly since being granted bail.”

The group of thieves who broke into the vault included participants of some of the most notorious heists of the last century – Reader had been involved in the £26 million gold bullion Brinks Mat robbery, and Perkins was a player in the £6 million Security Express raid.

But despite their experience in acquisitive crime, it took the bungling “Bad Grandpas” two nights to breach the vault, and they were caught after covert recording devices planted in their cars captured them boasting of their endeavours.

Court convicts three men in Hatton Garden burglary case, one man acquitted

Jones bragged about the raid in one recording, saying: “The biggest cash robbery in history at the time and now the biggest Tom in the f****** world, that’s what they are saying ... and what a book you could write, f****** hell’.”

Perkins was caught saying the gold from the raid was going to be his pension.

“I’m going to melt my good gold down. The Indian, the 18, that could be my pension if I could get half an idea of what’s there, you know what I mean,” he said.

Prosecutor Philip Evans told the jury “a very substantial quantity of gold, jewellery, precious stones, cash and other items were stolen from the vault in the basement of a building at 88-90 Hatton Garden”.

Referring to the men who pleaded guilty, he said: “These four ringleaders and organisers of this conspiracy, although senior in years, brought with them a great deal of experience in planning and executing sophisticated and serious acquisitive crime not dissimilar to this.

“This offence was to be the largest burglary in English legal history.”

After the men were arrested, police raided their homes and discovered a number of stolen goods, including gold, and precious gems. A book called Forensics For Dummies was found at Jones’s house. There was no forensic trace left at the vault.

Searches of Reader’s home revealed a book on the diamond underworld, a diamond tester, a diamond gauge, diamond magazines, and a distinctive scarf seen on CCTV at Hatton Garden on the night of April 2.

Although present on the first night of the burglary, he did not return for the second.

Saying that only one third of the estimated £14 million had been recovered, Mr Evans added: “This leaves, somewhere in the world, a great deal of criminal property from Hatton Garden, which has been concealed, converted or transferred.”

The men would often meet a short distance from London’s diamond district, making plans at The Castle pub on Pentonville Road in Islington, and Scotti’s, a nearby cafe.

Some also took part in reconnaissance.

Reader – recognisable by his striped socks and brown shoes – Jones, Perkins, Collins, allegedly Wood, and the man known as “Basil” entered Hatton Garden Safe Deposit at around 9.20pm on April 2.

CCTV footage shows them arriving in a white van and unloading tools, bags, metal joists and wheelie bins.

The men used walkie-talkies to communicate and their mobile phones were in “radio silence”.

However, after they were unable to gain access to the vault on the first night, the gang returned on April 4.

Once inside, the men used the lift shaft to access the basement, disabled the alarm and drilled into the vault wall using a drill they had taken with them.

They were eventually seen emerging from the building with holdalls and wheelie bins laden with stolen goods.

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