HATTON Garden’s “Basil” has been convicted today over his role in the £14million diamond heist.
Michael Seed, 58, was found guilty of conspiracy to burgle for his role disabling the security system, as well a hiding the haul.
Michael Seed has today been convicted for his part in the Hatton Garden burglary[/caption]
The thieves failed to drill into a safe containing £40 million worth of gems[/caption]
The gang of aged men climbed into the vault to loot 73 safe deposit boxes[/caption]
The heist saw jewels, gold ingots and cash looted from safety deposit boxes, the trial at Woolwich Crown Court heard.
During the Easter weekend of 2015, a group of elderly raiders ransacked an underground safe deposit facility in London’s Hatton Garden, known as the capital city’s jewellery district.
High-duty drills were used to tunnel into the vault, boring through 7ft thick walls to cracked open 73 boxes.
They contained millions of pounds of jewels and precious metals, including diamonds, sapphires and gold.
Prosecutors had alleged he posed as a BT engineer to tamper with the security system before the burglary, then used a 2G mobile phone jammer to block the alarm signal.
The court was told the 58-year-old cut the alarms at the jewellers after entering through the front door with a key.
Seed then opened the fire escape at the back so the so-called gang of ‘diamond wheezers’ could get in.
Well-spoken Seed, who grew up in Cambridge, appeared expressionless moments after the verdicts were returned.
HOW SEED WAS EVENTUALLY CAUGHT
Michael Seed, 58, was unknown to surveillance officers when he was twice seen with John “Kenny” Collins, 78, in the weeks after the £14 million burglary over the 2015 Easter bank holiday weekend.
Around seven weeks after the heist, on June 30, the UK Border Agency recorded Seed leaving the country from Heathrow airport on a budget flight to Lisbon, Portugal. He returned on July 15.
By the end of November 2015, Seed had been identified by police and was back under surveillance near his one-bedroom council flat in Islington, north London.
Officers tracked Seed again on CCTV cameras as he wandered around Canary Wharf on 28 April 2016.
But he was still free to travel to Lisbon for another holiday in July the same year.
He took a third trip – this time flying to Santiago de Compostela, in north-west Spain – in June 2017, but was arrested before he could jet off for another planned break in July last year.
For three years police officers searched frantically for the mystery figure dubbed ‘Basil’ and finally arrested him at his council flat in March 2018.
Flying Squad detective searched his chaotic home and found devices able to deactivate alarms, jam mobile phones, and manuals detailing the intricacies of safes used by high security firms.
In a wardrobe at his £105-per-week home officers found £143,000 in gold stolen from the jewellers in London’s diamond district.
After a five-week trial the jury of six men and six women took 35 hours and 35 minutes to find Seed guilty of the Hatton Garden burglary after deliberating at Woolwich Crown Court.
Ringleaders Brian Reader, 76, Terry Perkins, 67, Daniel Jones, 58 and Kenny Collins, 75, admitted conspiring to commit burglary from the start.
Collins, Jones and Perkins were handed seven-year sentences while Reader got six years and three months in jail.
Perkins, who had diabetes and heart problems, died in jail in February 2018 of natural causes.
The prosecution were able to prove Seed was the mysterious figure dubbed ‘Basil the Ghost’ during the trial of his ageing cohorts.
CCTV showed a man wearing a blue boiler suit, high-vis jacket and ear defenders, wearing a hat and red wig, approaching Hatton Garden with a black bin bag hiding his face from the cameras.
Police also photographed Seed walking with Collins in Shoreditch Park, after the raid and experts were able to say he was Basil because he had a funny Charlie Chaplin-style walk.
Seed, of Islington, was cleared of a charge of conspiracy to burgle relating to a £1 million burglary at the Chatila jewellery store in Bond Street over the late August bank holiday weekend in 2010.
He is due to be sentenced later today.
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