One of Britain's most notorious criminals John 'Goldfinger' Palmer shot 'in only part of home with no CCTV'
Published 07/03/2016 | 12:28
John “Goldfinger” Palmer, one of Britain’s most notorious criminals, was shot dead in the only spot in his country estate that is not covered by CCTV, it has emerged.
Palmer, who was once described as Britain’s richest criminal with a fortune of £300m, was shot six times last June by a bins area near the front gates of his house.
The convicted timeshare fraudster, who was connected to the infamous Brink’s-Mat heist, was dropping off rubbish from a trailer attached to the bike when a hidden gunman opened fire.
His killer is thought to have fired through a fence while hiding in public woods several hundred yards from a main road.
The 64-year-old was initially reported to have died of natural causes when his body was found at his home in South Weald, near Brentwood, Essex.
But they later launched a murder inquiry after a post-mortem examination found he had been shot in the chest.
Palmer, who was tried for melting down gold bars stolen in the £26 million theft of bullion and jewellery from a warehouse at Heathrow Airport, is the eighth person with close links to the 1983 robbery to be shot dead.
Detectives believe it could be “significant” that the bins area was the only location in Palmer’s two-and-a-half acre wooded grounds that were under surveillance by sophisticated webcam monitors.
When Palmer was shot on June 24 last year, his two Rottweilers were inside the house.
“It suggests the killer had some degree of inside knowledge about the lay-out of the property and its security,” a source told The Sun.
Palmer was jailed at the Old Bailey in 2001 over his involvement in a vast timeshare swindle, which cost thousands of British holidaymakers their life savings.
But he was best known for his connection to the Brink’s-MAT heist, for which he was tried in 1987. He was said to have melted down bullion from the robbery in his back garden, but he denied knowing the bullion was stolen and was acquitted.
The Brink’s-MAT robbery was carried out by a gang of six, who had expected to find £3 million in cash but instead discovered three tonnes of gold in the warehouse owned by an American security company.
Only three men – Micky McAvoy, Brian Robinson and his brother-in-law Anthony Black, a security guard at the warehouse – were ever convicted of carrying out the robbery.
Around half of the stolen gold remains unaccounted for. Palmer had been facing trial over another alleged timeshare con at the time of his death.
He had been charged with fraud, firearm possession and money laundering after an eight-year investigation in Tenerife, where he had his second home.
Days before his death he had been told he could be facing a 15-year prison sentence, and nine others were also facing charges, including his girlfriend Christine Ketley and nephews Andrew Palmer and Dean Morris.