Sunday 18 August 2019

Man (76) accused of £14m raid used OAP travel pass to get to crime scene, court told

Brian Reader
Brian Reader

Nina Massey

The oldest man involved in the Hatton Garden raid used a Freedom Pass belonging to someone else on his way to commit England's biggest burglary, a court heard.

Experienced criminal Brian Reader, 76, used the Oyster card - which provides free travel on London Transport to those aged over 60 - to get to London's jewellery quarter on the night of April 2.

Oyster card records show the pensioner boarded the 96 bus from near his home in Dartford, before exiting Waterloo East station at around 6.30pm.

From there he caught the number 55 bus to St John Street - about a five minute walk from Hatton Garden.

Reader did not appear to have owned a mobile phone and may have used his son Paul Reader's mobile to contact others involved in the conspiracy.

Dubbed the "Master" by his co-conspirators, the pensioner had been instrumental in planning the burglary which saw valuables worth up to £14 million, including precious stones and bullion, looted from safety deposit boxes in the capital's diamond district.

But he withdrew from the conspiracy when the gang ran in to difficulties trying to get in to the vault at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit on the first night.

The other men involved in the raid allegedly returned the following night to complete the job.

Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London heard evidence from Detective Constable Matthew Hollands, who said the travelcard was found in Reader's wallet after his arrest.

He said: "It's an Oyster card, Freedom Pass."

Asked if the card is in Reader's name, the detective replied: "It is not, no. It is in the name of Mr T. McCarthy. It does not have Brian Reader's photo on it, but it was found in his wallet."

Reader, along with three other "ringleaders" - John "Kenny" Collins, 75, Daniel Jones, 58, and Terry Perkins, 67, - has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit.

Carl Wood, 58, of Elderbeck Close, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire; William Lincoln, 60, of Winkley Street, Bethnal Green, east London; and Jon Harbinson, 42, of Beresford Gardens, Benfleet, Essex, face the same charge of conspiracy to commit burglary between May 17 2014 and 7.30am on April 5 this year.

A fourth man, plumbing engineer Hugh Doyle, 48, of Riverside Gardens, Enfield, north London, is jointly charged with them on one count of conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property between January 1 and May 19, this year.

He also faces an alternative charge of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property between April 1 and May 19, this year

One of the thieves, a red-haired man known only as Basil, remains at large.

Jurors have heard that two thirds of the £14 million worth of goods that were stolen have not yet been recovered.

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