Hatton Garden heist: Islington man and 'alarms expert' jailed over notorious £14m burglary
PUBLISHED: 14:50 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:59 19 March 2019
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Hatton Garden heist ringleader Michael 'Basil' Seed has been found guilty of taking part in the £14m safe deposit box burglary.
The Islington man, 58, will spend ten years in jail after being sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday.
He had evaded capture for three years after the crime – which took place over the Easter Weekend in 2015 – until police raided his Liverpool Road council flat on March 27 last year.
An electronics and alarms expert, prosecutors told the court Seed had been responsible for disabling the security system at the building in London’s diamond district – where the gang of veteran criminals looted 73 safe deposit boxes.
Seed – who pays no taxes, claims no benefits and rarely uses a bank account – had lived in his Islington flat since the early 1980s, when he was released from prison after serving 21 months for a drug dealing conviction.
The raid is thought to have been planned in the Castle Pub in Pentonville Road.
Seed, who grew up in Cambridge, was set to be sentenced by Judge Christopher Kinch QC later on Friday.
He is the tenth person to have been convicted over the Hatton Garden burglary.
Detectives from the Met’s flying squad caught Seed red-handed with more than 1,000 items stolen in the Hatton Garden heist.
He is believed to have been melting down gold and breaking up jewellery on his bedroom workbench.
A podiatrist told jurors the “unusual” limp offered “strong support” for the prosecution case that Seed was Basil.
The nickname was used by his fellow criminals – it is believed in reference to the bright ginger wig he wore.
Prosecuting, Philip Evans QC said: “These two offences in particular required very specialist skills and knowledge to defeat the alarms and security measures in the premises.
“The prosecution suggest that Mr Seed is one of those people and had the requisite level of skill and knowledge to assist in the successful execution of these crimes.”
After sentencing, Det. Ch. Insp. Mark Bradford from the Flying Squad said: “The conviction of Seed brings to a close one of the longest investigations in the Flying Squad’s history. This was a complex and meticulous inquiry into the burglary in the heart of London’s diamond district.
“Seed, who was more widely known as Basil, was responsible for accessing the Hatton Garden premises and disabling the security systems within. He was the only outstanding suspect in this long-running case, and has now been convicted alongside his co-defendants.”
Seed claimed he could have been on a family holiday in Cornwall or visiting his elderly mother, in Cambridge, at the time of the burglary.
The jury at the Old Bailey convicted Seed with a majority 10 to 2 verdict.
Additional reporting by the Press Association.