Alarm specialist convicted over role in £13.5m Hatton Garden burglary
An alarm specialist has today been found guilty of being the sixth gang member responsible for the notorious £13.5m raid on a Hatton Garden security vault.
Michael Seed, 58, was convicted for his part in the heist, which is believed to be one of the largest burglaries in English legal history.
The jury at Woolwich Crown Court accepted the prosecution evidence that Seed was the sixth gang member nicknamed ‘Basil’ who has so far evaded justice for his part in the 2015 raid.
Kate Mulholland, of the CPS, said: “Michael Seed’s defence was that the case against him amounted to a series of pure coincidences and that he could not be the elusive ‘Basil’.
“However, our prosecution was able to use all of the evidence to prove he was not only involved but was one of the ringleaders.
“He was the only member of the group with the technical knowledge to defeat complex alarm systems.”
During the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Company burglary in April 2015, six men wearing high-visibility jackets entered the London premises over a Bank Holiday weekend, overcame the alarms and drilled their way into the safety deposit vault in the basement.
They left with around £13.69m of gold, jewellery and precious stones.
One man - later nicknamed ‘Basil’ by his co-conspirators - was seen on internal CCTV wearing a ginger wig and a face covering as a disguise.
The rest of the men - Brian Reader, Terry Perkins, Daniel Jones, and John ‘Kenny’ Collins - were identified in the weeks after, arrested, charged and eventually jailed. Others who helped them were also convicted.
However ‘Basil’ remained unidentified. He was last seen walking away from Hatton Garden with a bin bag over his shoulder.
Three years later police officers raided Seed’s one-bedroom Islington council flat. They found an array of items stolen from Hatton Garden (see: Building the Case).
Building the case
The prosecution case that Michael Seed was ‘Basil’ was built on various pieces of key evidence.
It included surveillance of the other members of the gang talking about ‘Basil’ in ways which matched Seed - his frugal lifestyle, that he was an alarm specialist, the fact that he had been given a co-conspirators’ share of the money.
When Seed’s home was raided police found 933 items of jewellery stolen from Hatton Garden in Tupperware boxes and self-seal bags, valued at around £143,000. Two of the stolen gold ingots were also discovered. Seed said that he was an amateur jeweller and had come by the items innocently.
Obscure burglar alarm technical manuals were found, 2G signal blockers for alarms, and a smelting machine for melting precious metals.
The prosecution also used a photograph of Seed talking with Hatton conspirator Kenny Collins in the days after that burglary which was used in the trial to show their friendship.
The jury was also given expert and medical evidence showing that his walk was identical to the walk of ‘Basil’ on CCTV.
Notes to editors
- Michael Seed (DOB: 09/08/1960) was found guilty of conspiracy to burgle Hatton Garden and guilty of converting the proceeds of crime.
- Kate Mulholland is a Specialist Prosecutor in the London CPS Complex Casework Unit.
Other Hatton Garden convictions
- Ringleaders Brian Reader, Terry Perkins, Daniel Jones, and John ‘Kenny’ Collins admitted conspiring to commit burglary of Hatton Gardens in 2015. They received seven-year sentences in March 2016. Reader received a six-and-a-half year prison sentence
- Carl Wood, 58, and William Lincoln, 60, were found guilty by a jury of conspiring to burgle. Wood received a six-year prison sentence; Lincoln seven years
- Hugh Doyle, 48, was found guilty of conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property and received a 21-month suspended prison sentence
- Perkins’ daughter Terri Robinson, 35, pleaded guilty to concealing, converting, or transferring criminal property and was given 18 months suspended for two years
- Perkins’ brother-in-law Brenn Walters, also known as Ben Perkins, received an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
Proceeds of crime proceedings
- John Collins, Daniel Jones, Brian Reader and Terry Perkins were given a joint confiscation order of £6,396,273.75 plus extra sums dependent on their personal circumstances. Any money paid by any of the men the joint amount would be treated as a payment towards each co-defendant’s confiscation order
- Daniel Jones’s default sentence was activated on 14 August 2018, where he was sentenced to a further six-and-a-half years' imprisonment
- Terry Perkins died in prison in February 2018 and steps are being taken to recover funds from his estate
- John Collins and Brian Reader face further hearings.