Was murder of Brinks Mat gang boss John Palmer connected to Hatton Garden heist?
CRIMINAL kingpin John Palmer was gunned down just weeks after the first arrests in the Hatton Garden robbery probe.
The hole drilled at Hatton Garden by raiders and left to right Reader, Noye, Palmer and Perkins
The murder investigation into the killing of John ‘Goldfinger’ Palmer,is one of Essex Police’s biggest ever cases and continues without any confirmed suspects in the frame after the only man so far arrested was released without charge.Essex Police has, however, not ruled out a link between his execution on June 24 last year and the infamous Hatton Garden heist, of the Easter weekend, which led to the arrest of senior gangland crooks – some with long connections to Palmer.The first Hatton Garden heist arrests began from May 19 – just over a month before Palmer was gunned down at his £800,000 Essex home.One theory over Palmer’s death suggests he may have been about to turn “supergrass” before an upcoming Spanish fraud trial he was facing, but detectives will also be digging into the Hatton Garden connections.
After the extensive Hatton Garden trial, the true extent of the various connections within the top echelons of British crime world can now become public.
Brian Reader, 76, whose gangland nicknames have included the Governor, The Master and Dodgy Syrup (after the wig he wore in younger times, see the pic below) pleaded guilty to his role in masterminding the £14million heist ahead of the trial.
Brian Reader during the 1980s
It has emerged he was a close associate of jailed double killer and Kent crime lord Kenneth Noye, 68.The pair’s links go as least as far back as the 1983 Brinks Mat gold bullion heist which saw them both jailed.It came on November 26, 1983, when a gang of masked robbers carried out Britain’s largest ever robbery at London’s Heathrow Airport, taking gold bullion worth £26 million.They escaped with 6,800 ingots weighing three tons as well as an assortment of travellers’ cheques and diamonds in what was dubbed the crime of the century.The gang at the time turned to Noye, as well as associates Reader and Palmer to smelt it down.
Reader, from Dartford, Kent, was later convicted of handling gold from the raid and sentenced to nine years in prison.
Police outside the Brinks Mat robbery scene after the raid
At his 1987 trial Palmer was found not guilty of handling Brinks Mat gold, even though he admitted melting it in his back garden, because he claimed not to have known it was stolen.Noye was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his handling of the stolen gold.Reader was also at Noye’s mansion in West Kingsdown, Kent, on the night in January 1985, when undercover police officer Detective Constable John Fordham was killed by Noye.Mr Fordham and another officer entered Noye’s garden as part of a surveillance operation during the Brinks Mat investigation, but were rumbled by the gangster’s dogs.
Mr Fordham was stabbed 11 times by Noye who was arrested and charged with murder.
Reader was also charged as an accomplice.
Both were cleared at trial after the jury accepted Noye acted in self defence and Reader was not at all involved in the violence.
Alongside Reader, John Collins, 74, Daniel Jones, 68, and Terry Perkins, 67, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the Hatton Garden robbery. Perkins, of Heene Road, Enfield, is another criminal heavyweight with serious form and connections to Great Train Robber Ronnie Knight.
He has a long history of criminal activity and was jailed for 22 years for involvement in another major Easter weekend heist the same year as Brinks Mat.He took part in a robbing at the vaults of Securicor, also known as Security Express, on April 4 1983.After serving part of his sentence, Perkins was given temporary release from prison but failed to return after this expired. He was convicted in relation to this in July 2011 and sentenced to four weeks’ imprisonment. He was eventually released from prison on February 7 2012.On Easter Monday 1983 a gang including Perkins broke into the Security Express depot in Shoreditch, east London, and escaped with £6million.
Police mugshot of Kenny Noye from the 1990s
The robbery was masterminded by John Knight, the brother of Ronnie Knight, the former husband of actress Dame Barbara Windsor.Others convicted during or before the Hatton Garden trial are Carl Wood, 50, from Cheshunt, Herts; William Lincoln, 60, known as Billy the Fish, from Bethnal Green, East London, who was convicted of handling stolen property; and Hugh Doyle, 48, of Riverside Gardens, Enfield, convicted of money laundering.All three of them were found guilty at the trial .John Harbinson, 42, from Benfleet, Essex, was acquitted of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property.Paul Reader, 50, Reader’s son, also from Dartford, had charges of conspiracy to burgle against him dropped before the trial.
‘This is such a big investigation and enquiries are very much continuing. Officers are exploring an absolute magnitude of things because of his criminal past.
Essex Police spokeswoman’
A tenth man was arrested but never charged.
Police guard the safety deposit robbery scene in Hatton Garden last year
Those convicted have been sentenced but a Met Police manhunt remains for a mystery red-haired crook, known only as Basil, who was recorded on CCTV unlocking the premises and letting the crooks in during both nights of the raid and has disappeared with no clues as to who he is. The raid cost a lot of money to set up with the specialist drilling equipment and there has long been a theory that many of the big UK heists are planned by persons unknown who always look after the families of any villains caught and jailed. The seed corn money being some of the Brinks Mat loot that is still unaccounted for.Because of the close and interweaved senior criminal associations, Noye has yet to be ruled out by the Met Police as having any involvement in planning the Hatton Gardon raid from behind bars. He was of course one of the Brinks robbers.Investigators are also exploring if Noye could have had any involvement in arranging Palmer’s death from prison. If Palmer was about to grass to get a good deal on the Spanish crime which would mean he could live in the UK under house arrest or similar he’d be tempted to take it at his age. And he was privvy to a lot of information about many of the big robberies and could put the finger on many underworld figures who could have decided they didn’t want that.It is understood detectives monitored all visits to Noye in prison following the heist and Palmer’s death.So far nine people connected to the Brinks Mat robbery, including Palmer and PC Fordham, have now met grisly ends in what is known as the Brinks Mat curse.
John Palmer during the 1980s – he is the ninth person connected to Brinks Mat to meet grisly ends
Besides Hatton Garden, detectives investigating Palmer’s death are looking into all his extensive cross-border criminal connections.After avoiding jail over Brinks Mat, he moved into timeshare scams in Spain.In May 2001 he was jailed for eight years at the Old Bailey for masterminding a massive timeshare swindle which used BM money to set up. Did he not pay back his financiers?In July 2007 Palmer was arrested by Spanish police, on suspicion of fraud and money laundering.
It took Spanish authorities eight years to charge him and last May, the same month as the Hatton Garden arrests, he faced new fraud and money laundering offences and a firearms count.
Essex Police launched a murder probe six days after Palmer’s body was found at his £800,000 property in Brentwood, Essex, on June 24.
Officers were criticised for initially classing his death as “non-suspicious”, before a post-mortem found he had been blasted in the chest with a shotgun.This was despite him being shot in the leg and a fence panel being removed from around the garden.An internal professional standards inquiry is underway.In the Essex Police probe into Palmer’s death, the only suspect so far has been released.A 43-year-old man from Rugby, near Palmer’s native Birmingham, was arrested in connection with the murder probe last August.
But he was freed from police bail with no further action pending in November.
There have been no other arrests or interviews under caution since, according to Essex Police, which says it is currently conducting a significant inquiry into the killing.
Asked if a potential connection to the Hatton Garden heist was being considered by detectives on the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, a force spokeswoman said: “This is such a big investigation and enquiries are very much continuing. Officers are exploring an absolute magnitude of things because of his criminal past.”
And even when they go into advanced age they still have to settle old scores….
Can you believe this??? Happened in February 2017 at Great Train Robber Thomas Wisbey’s funeral!!!
T WAS Zimmer frames at dawn at the New Camberwell Cemetery in south London on Monday.
Eddie Richardson, left, and Freddie Foreman rekindled old animosities at a funeral this week
Retired gangsters Freddie Foreman, 84, and Eddie Richardson, 82, clashed in the pews at the funeral of Great Train Robber Tommy Wisbey, 86.What prompted the confrontation is not clear but it wouldn’t take much to provoke a bit of pushing and shoving between two such characters.
After all, the bad blood dates back decades to the days when Foreman was a heavy for the Kray twins and Richardson was a rival gang boss in south London. Perhaps Foreman had been riled by an interview Richardson gave 18 months ago in which he dissed the Krays.
“The Krays had watched too many US gangster films,” he said.
“They wanted to be like Al Capone… They just wanted to play at being gangsters… They didn’t dare take us on until we were under lock and key – then they started taking liberties.”Eddie and his brother Charlie were faces to be reckoned with in London’s criminal underworld of the 1960s and 1970s. They used a scrap metal business and fruit machine company as fronts for a criminal empire involving drug dealing, protection and extortion rackets and employed a diminutive thug called “Mad” Frankie Fraser – 5ft 4in in his socks – as their enforcer.
Anyone who crossed them would be subjected to a kangaroo court, with Charlie presiding – sometimes in the robes of a judge – and then handed over to Mad Frankie for punishment.He pulled out teeth with pliers and nailed people to the floor using six-inch spikes but his piece-de-resistance was torture by electrocution of the genitals using a crank-handled ex-army field telephone to generate the power.
AS LONG as the Richardsons stuck to their manor of south London and the Krays concentrated on the East End there was no need for conflict but on March 7, 1966, there was a brawl at Mr Smith’s club in Catford, south London.Both Richardson brothers were badly hurt but Kray associate Richard Hart was found dead nearby, shot in the face. The Krays’ retribution was swift.
Charlie and Eddie Richardson in the 1960s
Less than 24 hours later the Richardsons’ lieutenant George Cornell was in the Blind Beggar pub in the heart of Kray territory on the Mile End Road when he was approached by Ronnie Kray toting a 9mm Mauser and shot in the forehead.
Kray was arrested but no eyewitnesses were prepared to testify so he was released. His south London rivals were less fortunate. The police rounded up the Richardson gang four months later on the same day England won the World Cup.
When their case came to court in 1967, it was dubbed the “Torture Trial” after the court heard the grisly details of Mad Frankie’s methods. He was sentenced to five years for affray connected to the events at Mr Smith’s and a further 10 years for his involvement in torture.
Charlie Richardson got 25 years and Eddie 10 years on top of a five-year sentence for affray. In Leicester Prison’s security wing Fraser met Tommy Wisbey, who was doing time for his part in the Great Train Robbery of 1963.
At the time, prisoners roped in a trusted fellow inmate to make the tea to be poured during visiting hours in order to ensure that it would not be doctored by prison officers. Wisbey asked Mad Frankie to be mother.As he put the tray down, Fraser met Wisbey’s then 12-year-old daughter Marilyn for the fi rst time. A quarter of a century later, he and Marilyn embarked on a relationship. Meanwhile, the Krays were living on borrowed time.
Ronnie may have got away with the assassination of Cornell but after Reggie murdered Jack “The Hat” McVitie in 1967 the police arrested them for both murders and they were sentenced to life two years later.
Freddie Foreman, who got his nickname of “Brown Bread Fred” – brown bread being Cockney rhyming slang for dead – after disposing of McVitie’s body, was put away for 10 years. Shortly after leaving prison he took part in the Shoreditch Security Express robbery of 1983 and was sentenced to nine years for that.While many gangsters of the era found it hard to go straight, at least some of their progeny have enjoyed respectable careers. Foreman’s son Jamie became an actor, appearing in many feature films and 144 episodes of EastEnders as hard man Derek Branning.
Two of Fraser’s grandsons became footballers, with Tommy playing for League Two side Port Vale and James enjoying a brief spell at Bristol Rovers. Exactly what sparked this week’s altercation between Foreman and Richardson we’ll probably never know as no old lag wants to be seen as a grass.
It’s an approach epitomised by the late Mad Frankie’s reaction when police questioned him after a botched attempt on his life outside a London nightclub in 1991. Asked to give his name, Fraser replied: “Tutankhamun” – slang for “keeping schtum” – and asked “What incident?”
2 thoughts on “CONNECTIONS between the ‘geezers’”
My Dad knew Brian Reader way before 1983 , they did a bit of ” work” for someone I won’t name chasing up people who didn’t pay the rent on his properties . When Noye came on the scene my Dad didn’t like him or trust him and moved on. This would have been mid 70’s at the latest so Noye knew Reader before 1983.
Thanks for that, they were obviously well acquainted prior 83 but I can’t get any info on ‘work’ they did together before then. was the rent man Peter Rachman? Quite a few people did debt chasing for him as a sideline?