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No one within the robbers’ immediate circle had any experience of dealing with gold – the gang had been expecting to find only cash – so the call for help was put out far and wide. It was just after 6.40am on 26 November 1983 that six armed men burst into the Heathrow depot of the security company Brink’s-Mat. The robbers disabled the sophisticated security system, tied up the guards and doused them with petrol.

Specially converted containers were sent to a shoe factory in Pakistan, where millions of pounds of cannabis were hidden by legitimate goods and shipped back to the UK. Francis and other members of the gang began living the good life, buying cars, jewellery and making a show of lighting their cigars with £20 notes in south London pubs. Others who handled the gold but managed to escape prosecution have also ended up behind bars.

The Gold: Where the real-life robbers behind £26million Brink’s-Mat heist are now – from fatal shootings to other crimes

He served half of his prison term and although his fortune at the time of his conviction was estimated to stand at £300 million, he was declared bankrupt with debts of £3.9 million in 2005. He was arrested again in 2007 on fraud charges, spending two years in a Spanish prison before being released on bail. Micky McAvoy was sentenced to 25 years in jail for armed robbery in relation to the Brink’s-Mat heist. He had attempted to strike a deal with prosecutors by giving back his share of the proceeds from the robbery, but by this point the money had disappeared. Noye was released from prison in the summer of 1994 but in March 2000 was jailed for life for the M25 ‘road-rage’ murder of motorist Stephen Cameron, committed four years earlier.

The curse has hit many in the criminal underworld including Great Train Robber Charlie Wilson, who was gunned down at his Marbella home after £3million of Brink’s-Mat money went missing in a drug deal. He confessed that he had provided information and a duplicate key, and named three of the robbers, McAvoy, his brother-in-law Robinson, and a man called Tony White. Nearly three decades later and upwards of £20 million in bullion remains unrecovered.

Parry was arrested in Fuengirola, Spain in 1989 and returned to the UK a year later and charged with handling over £16 million. He went on trial with, among others, Perry, McAvoy’s first wife Jacqueline, Patrick Clark, and Jean Savage in 1991. Perry was accused of laundering £7.5 million, Clark and his son £4.5 million and Savage £2.5 million.

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Rather than disappear in the days following the robbery, McAvoy – a Bermondsey-born crook and the leader of the gang – told the others to make sure they were seen around their usual haunts. The so-called “Curse of Brink’s-Mat” or “Curse of the Brink’s-Mat millions” refers to the shooting deaths of several men who were allegedly involved. These deaths were thought by members of the London criminal underworld to be related to laundering of the gold. Michael Relton, Kathleen McAvoyIn July 1988, Michael Relton was convicted of helping launder proceeds and jailed for 12 years. Kathleen McAvoy was convicted of conspiring to handle the stolen gold but given an 18-month suspended jail sentence. Kenneth Noye, Garth Chappell, Brian Reader, Matteo ConstantinoIn 1986, Noye was found guilty of conspiracy to handle the Brink’s-Mat gold, fined £500,000, plus £200,000 costs, and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

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Anthony White was also arrested for the robbery but was later acquitted. The armed robbers threatened to light them on fire unless they provided the combinations to the safe. When the gang finally gained access, what lay in front of them was vastly more valuable than any of them had expected – 6,800 gold bars worth £26 million as well as a bountiful hoard of diamonds. In today’s monetary terms, you’re looking at well over £81 million in total.

George Francis

There have been several other the best accounting software for amazon fba sellerss linked to the robbery or people involved, including that of suspected Brink’s gang member George Francis, who was shot in 2003. Fans have been raving about new BBC drama The Gold, which follows the story of six robbers who found a vault full of gold bullion. At the time he was killed, he was facing charges of fraud, money laundering and firearm possession in Spain. In 2001, he was convicted of fraud in relation to a timeshare scheme and sentenced to eight years in prison. Palmer reportedly conned 20,000 people out of a total of £30 million.


Brian Perry, who ran a minicab agency in east London, enlisted the help of petty criminal Kenneth Noye who in turn brought in John Palmer, the owner of a Bristol-based gold dealership. Noye knew about smelting gold and came up with the idea of introducing copper into the process, altering the gold’s carat rating and effectively making it untraceable. Within months the trio had pocketed in the region of £10 million. Neither man had been secretive about their plans in the build-up to the heist, putting the word out far and wide they needed a couple ‘sensible lads’ to assist them on an inside job. Nor did either man lie low after the robbery, choosing instead to elevate their surroundings quite dramatically.

The Brinks Mat robbery: If The Gold is a true story and where Kenneth Noye and the other robbers are now

The detective constable was stabbed to death at Noye’s Kent mansion in 1985. Robinson, McAvoy and another South-London hood called Tony White. So it was not surprising, as word spread across the underworld, that various top London villains, or ‘faces’, let it be known that they would be pitching for the ‘rights’ to turn all that gold into ready cash.

Micky McAvoy, Brian RobinsonTried at the Old Bailey in December 1984, McAvoy and Robinson were sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for armed robbery. Nine people linked to the raid have been murdered and Lawson himself survived a murder attempt. Hooded gunmen burst through the doors of his Kent pub and shot him at close range 18 years ago. They shot Mr Francis four times in his car as he arrived at his south London haulage firm early one morning in May 2003. In 1985, unable to pay the remainder of the fee for having the jury nobbled, Francis was shot in the shoulder close to the pub he ran in the Kent village of Hever.

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Various figures – on both sides of the law – are still alive to assist in the telling of their also. JOEY WILKINS – Vice king who grassed on Noye died mysteriously in 2007 after an apparent robbery on the Costa del Sol. ALAN DECABRAL – Witness due to give evidence against Noye ended up peppered with bullets in a car park in Ashford, Kent, in 2000. GEORGE FRANCIS – Publican who handled gold, shot in Bermondsey in 2003. STEPHEN CAMERON – Stabbed to death by Kenneth Noye in 1996 road rage incident on the M25.

brian boyce

Despite the three year attempt to question him, his case was thrown out of court after just 25 seconds due to insufficient evidence. The shooting of George Francis last Wednesday morning outside the office of his Bermondsey courier business is the latest murder linked to the Brink’s-Mat raid. Francis arrived early for work, as he always did, to meet the first trucks arriving from the Continent.

Marshall stunned detectives by alleging that he’d hacked up four other bodies while working for Terry Adams – one of the men responsible for laundering the Brink’s-Mat gold. From 1994 to 1997, five more gangland deaths were attributed in some way to Brink’s-Mat. In April 1990, he paid the price when a young British hood knocked on the front door of his hacienda north of Marbella and shot Wilson and his pet husky dog before coolly riding off down the hill on a yellow bicycle. Noye was told that they almost had enough evidence to implicate him in a huge drug deal.

  • Ten days after the robbery, Robinson and Micky McAvoy were arrested.
  • Two men are to be sentenced today for the murder of a career criminal linked to the notorious Brinks-Mat gold bullion robbery.
  • After questioning, he crumbled and gave up both Robinson and McAvoy.
  • The haul of gold was so great that it took them two hours to complete the robbery and load all of the gold into a truck.
  • The nature of the heist and the ease at which the robbers gained access to the warehouse led police to immediately believe it was an inside job.

The Old Bailey heard that contract killers John O’Flynn and Terence Conaghan shot him at the premises of the Signed, Sealed and Delivered firm in Bermondsey. George Francis, 63, was the ninth man to die in the aftermath of the £26 million heist in 1983. It was reported that he offered his services to the Lawrence family for free in 1999. Solicitor Michael Relton, who is thought to be the real person behind Edwyn Cooper, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and is reportedly living in the US. “I was never a danger to her and there was never a million-pound price on her head, as the police suggested. She should be able to fully enjoy her family and friends because there are no threats to her from me – there never was.

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