Saturday 3 December 2016

Cage-fighter behind £53m heist is jailed in Morocco

Chris Greenwood in London

Published 02/06/2010 | 05:00

A martial arts expert who masterminded the £53m (€63.5m) Securitas robbery was jailed for 10 years in Morocco yesterday

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Cage-fighter Lee Murray (30) was told he will spend the next decade in prison at a hearing in Rabat. The sentence was for his role co-ordinating the audacious raid at the cash depot in Tonbridge, Kent, on February 21, 2006.

Last June the Moroccan authorities refused to extradite Murray, originally from south-east London, after establishing his Moroccan nationality.

Since then detectives have worked closely with their overseas colleagues to ensure Murray does not escape justice.

He has been held in prison since his arrest at a shopping centre several months after the raid and has already served time for drug-related offences.

Last October, Murray's lieutenant Paul Allen (31) was jailed for 18 years for his part in the robbery. After the hold-up in February 2006, Allen fled to Morocco with Murray and the pair began enjoying a cocaine-fuelled party lifestyle in the sun.

On the night of the raid in February, 2006, the Securitas depot manager, his wife and his young child were kidnapped to allow the gang to gain entry, and 14 staff members were terrorised and tied up at gunpoint as the robbers stuffed cash into a 7.5-ton lorry during the 66-minute hold-up.

Kickboxer Lea Rusha, car salesman Stuart Royle, unemployed Albanian Jetmir Bucpapa and garage owner Roger Coutts were all jailed in 2008 with minimum terms of 15 years. Inside man Emir Hysenaj, an Albanian, who filmed inside the depot using a miniature camera, was given 20 years.

Police have recovered £21m (€25m) of the record-breaking cash haul and are still hunting for the rest of the cash.

Prosecutors say they are determined to track down the rest of the money and recent inquiries have been focused on a country in the Middle East.

Plans are under way to make a Hollywood film about the robbery.

Irish Independent

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