Cage fighters 'behind £53m raid'

Discussion in 'MMA, Boxing & Other Combat Sports' started by Knowledge, Oct 7, 2008.

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  1. Knowledge

    Knowledge Guest

    Two cage fighters masterminded the £53m raid on a Securitas depot in Kent and then fled to Morocco, a jury was told.

    Paul Allen and Lee Murray, 29, were at the heart of the raid in Tonbridge in February 2006, the Old Bailey heard.

    Mr Allen, 30, of Chatham, was extradited to the UK while Mr Murray remains in a Moroccan jail.

    Mr Allen is on trial along with Michael Demetris, 32, of Bromley Common, south London. Both deny conspiracy to rob, to kidnap, and to possess a firearm.

    Mr Allen and Mr Demetris, a hairdresser, are accused of conspiring with five other men who were jailed in January after being found guilty of kidnap, robbery and firearms charges in connection with Britain's biggest cash raid.

    During the raid, depot manager Colin Dixon and his family were kidnapped at gunpoint by men posing as police officers.

    Telephone records

    Sir John Nutting QC, prosecuting, said Mr Allen and Mr Murray were friends of long standing, and both worked part-time as cage fighters, a martial arts activity.

    "We have their telephone records. In the period leading up to 21 February they speak regularly during the day and almost invariably last thing at night," he said.

    The two, it was said, had hoped to remain living in Morocco and share proceeds from the raid.

    Sir John told jurors that evidence at the Securitas trial held last year provided by Michelle Hogg, who applied prosthetic masks to disguise members of the gang, led to Mr Demetris being charged.

    The court heard that Mr Murray allegedly began to take an interest in the Securitas depot in summer 2005 and later that year he and Mr Allen bought several pay-as-you-go mobile phones and SIM cards.
    Securitas depot
    The robbery took place at a Securitas depot in Tonbridge in February 2006

    In January 2006, the pair visited a specialist security shop to buy covert miniature cameras and recording equipment, used in the reconnaissance of the depot and the Dixons' home.

    Mr Murray also bought police clothing used in the robbery on eBay, as well as a paintball mask from a shop which he used as a disguise, while Mr Allen helped buy one of the cars used in the kidnapping and to transport the robbers to and from the depot, the court heard.

    Mr Murray allegedly helped buy prosthetic material and wore a prosthetic disguise made by Miss Hogg, which he used to pose as a policeman during the kidnapping of the Dixons.

    Jurors were also told that a few days before the raid Mr Allen visited Herne Bay, where his mobile phone signal was detected near the Dixons' home in the early hours of two consecutive mornings.

    Sir John said Mr Allen was also with Miss Hogg when she applied prosthetic masks to the robbers, and allowed his home in Chatham to be used by Mr Demetris to "perfect the disguises" just before the kidnapping.

    "He may well have actually participated in the robbery and, after it, he assisted the other conspirators to unwrap a large number of holdalls which were used to take the proceeds of the robbery away," he said.

    He told the court there was no suggestion that Mr Demetris, who employed Miss Hogg at his hair salon, was a kidnapper or robber.

    Mobile phone call

    However, he had introduced her to the conspirators "so that her expertise could be used in the creation of disguises" and "organised" her life, encouraging her to work at home on the disguises and helping her generally, he said.

    "After the robbery he instructed Michelle Hogg what to say to police if she was interviewed," the court was told.

    Referring to Mr Murray, Sir John said a conversation between him and Lea Rusha, one of the five men jailed in January, was accidentally recorded on Mr Murray's mobile.

    The trial was also told of another alleged robber - Keyinde Patterson, known as Cane, who has not been arrested and may be in the West Indies.

    Jurors heard that £20m from the robbery was recovered within a month.

    The trial continues.
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