Morocco court jails man for Britain's biggest heist

3rd June 2010, Comments 0 comments

A court in Morocco has sentenced a cage fighter with British and Moroccan nationality to 10 years in jail for Britain's biggest cash robbery carried out in 2006, a source said Wednesday.

Ibrahim Lee Murray, 32, was sentenced on Tuesday in the city of Sale on various charges including membership of a criminal gang, theft with an armed weapon, wearing an illegal uniform and kidnapping, the source said.

Rabat and London believe that Murray was the mastermind of the February 2006 robbery of 53 million pounds (63 million euro, 77 million dollars) from a security depot in Tonbridge, southeast England.

Morocco forbids the extradition of its nationals but can agree to try a suspect for crimes committed in another country. It rejected last year a request to extradite Murray because of his Moroccan nationality.

The court also seized Murray's 800 shares in a villa in a luxury district of Rabat and other financial assets, the court source said.

He was arrested in Morocco in June 2006 with five other people including British national Paul Allen.

The group was sentenced in February 2007 to between four months and three years in jail for crimes including violence against the police and using drugs.

Allen, a British cage fighter, was later extradited to Britain where he was sentenced in October to 18 years in jail after admitting involvement in the heist.

It was at Allen's trial that prosecutors fingered Murray as the "leading light" behind the heist, also identifying him as a part-time cage fighter.

Armed men raided a Securitas cash depot in Tonbridge, Kent, in the early morning of February 22, 2006.

After kidnapping the depot's manager and his family, and tying up members of staff, the robbers fled with more than 53 million pounds in bank notes -- the biggest-ever cash robbery in British history.

Police have recovered just 21 million pounds.

© 2010 AFP

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