England

Hatton Garden raider 'bit of a Walter Mitty'

Danny Jones Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Danny Jones was described as being obsessed with the Army - often going to bed in a sleeping bag on his bedroom floor

One of the Hatton Garden raid ringleaders was "eccentric to extremes" and a "bit of a Walter Mitty", a court has been told.

Daniel Jones, 60, has admitted his role in the £14m burglary in April.

His friend Carl Wood, 58, told Woolwich Crown Court that Jones was obsessed with crime and would sleep in his mother's dressing gown and a fez hat.

Mr Wood is one of three men who deny conspiracy to commit burglary in relation to the raid.

A fourth denies conspiracy to conceal or transfer criminal property.

'Palm reader'

Mr Wood told the court his friend was also obsessed with the Army - often going to bed in a sleeping bag on his bedroom floor.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption The vault at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd was breached over the Easter weekend

He told jurors he first met Jones in a pub about 30 years ago, and the two became friends over their mutual interest in keeping fit.

Mr Wood told the court that Jones was "eccentric to extremes", and would speak to his white-haired terrier dog, Rocket, as if it were human.

The defendant said of his friend: "He would read palms, tell people he could read their fortunes - bit of a Walter Mitty.

"Danny was studying crime all the time in his room, reading books about it, watch films and go on the internet."

He said Jones was having arguments with his "agoraphobic wife" at home and that she was "keeping on at him" while he was "doing something important that involved a lot of money".

The court heard the two men would often speak on the phone, but Wood explained this as "general chit chat".

Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Carl Wood (left) is one of four men on trial

The prosecution alleges that the series of phone calls involved plotting the Hatton Garden raid.

Referring to a call made in early January, Nick Corsellis, defending, asked: "Were you discussing the planning of the largest burglary in English history?"

Mr Wood replied: "No I was not."

Asked why he did not use his phone - a "cheap Tesco" mobile - again after the burglary, Mr Wood said he thought it had been stolen.

He is accused of being one of the men who broke into Hatton Garden Safe Deposit in central London on the night of 2 April.

Mr Wood is alleged to have also returned two nights later, but walked away from the job after finding the fire escape door closed.

The prosecution alleges that a suspect identified as "Man F" in CCTV footage of the burglary is Mr Wood, a claim he denies.

He told the court he was not part of the burglary team on either night as he was at home.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Damage caused to the vault during the raid included broken doors and gates

Jones, of Park Avenue, Enfield; John Collins, 75, of Bletsoe Walk, Islington; Terry Perkins, 67, of Heene Road, Enfield and Brian Reader, 76, of Dartford Road, Dartford, have all previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.

The trial continues.


Defendants and charges

  • Carl Wood, 58, of Elderbeck Close, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire: Charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property
  • William Lincoln, 60, of Winkley Street, Bethnal Green: Charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property
  • Jon Harbinson, 42, of Beresford Gardens, Benfleet, Essex: Charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property
  • Hugh Doyle, 48, of Riverside Gardens, Enfield: Charged with conspiracy to conceal, convert or transfer criminal property and faces an alternative charge of concealing, converting or transferring criminal property

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites