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Hatton Garden mastermind jailed for six years

Brian Reader
Brian Reader
The tunnel drilled into the vault by the Hatton Garden gang
The tunnel drilled into the vault by the Hatton Garden gang

Hatton Garden mastermind Brian "the guv'nor" Reader has been sentenced to six years and three months in jail for his role in the £14 million jewellery raid.

The 77-year-old - the oldest member of the gang - suffered a stroke in Belmarsh Prison following what was the biggest burglary in English history.

Appearing via video link at Woolwich Crown Court, Reader, who the court was told now uses a walking frame, was sentenced to six years and three months by Judge Christopher Kinch QC.

Reader, of Dartford Road, Dartford, Kent, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary last September.

Judge Kinch said he took into account the fact that Reader is "seriously unwell" and needs daily assistance with a number of routine tasks.

He said Reader has a range of medical problems which are "potentially very serious indeed", but added: "I'm satisfied that you were rightly described as one of the ringleaders and involved in regular meetings."

The judge pointed out that while Reader was not present on the second night of the heist, he was there the first night and during "at least one dry run".

The court heard about Reader's ill-health - how he has suffered from a number of strokes, prostate cancer, loss of hearing, disruption to his vision, and now requires daily assistance with tasks like showering.

Appearing on screens in the court, the pensioner looked frail, and was wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt and glasses.

His previous convictions go back more than 60 years, including a burglary conviction in 1950.

The Hatton Garden gang, with a combined age of almost 450, carried out the "sophisticated" and meticulously planned break-in over the Easter weekend last year.

They ransacked 73 boxes at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit after using a drill to bore a hole into the vault wall.

Valuables worth up to £14 million, including gold, diamonds and sapphires, were taken.

Two-thirds of them remain unrecovered.

Another thief, known only as Basil, remains at large. He was instrumental in helping the gang get into the vault in the heart of London's diamond district.