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Hatton Garden thief could avoid return to jail over dementia

Hatton Garden Safety Deposit scene of robbery Image copyright Met Police
Image caption The vault at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd was breached over the 2015 Easter weekend

The mastermind behind the Hatton Garden heist could avoid being sent back to prison after being diagnosed with dementia, a court has heard.

Brian Reader, 80, was freed after serving half his sentence, but faced another seven years if he failed to pay back millions stolen in the £13.7m raid in Easter 2015.

The gang drilled through a vault wall to access a Hatton Garden safe deposit.

A confiscation ruling ordered Reader and three others pay the cash back.

Reader, John "Kenny" Collins, 78, Daniel Jones, 64, and Terry Perkins, who died in prison last year, were slapped with one of the biggest confiscation orders in Scotland Yard's history.

Together they owe a joint sum of £5.75m, which prosecutors said was available in hidden assets from unrecovered jewellery, gold, gems and cash, as well as individual additional amounts from realisable assets such as properties in the UK and abroad.

But Reader, who has not paid back a single penny, could avoid going back to jail because of his poor health, Hendon Magistrates' Court heard.

Prosecutor Philip Stott said Reader's lawyers had served medical evidence suggesting he "was incapable of participating in these proceedings... effectively on the grounds of the onset of dementia".

He said prosecutors will instruct their own medical experts, and district judge Richard Blake adjourned Reader's confiscation hearing to 3 October.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Clockwise from top left Brian Reader, John Collins, Daniel Jones and Terry Perkins were described as the ringleaders of the heist

In March 2016, Collins, of Islington, north London, Jones, of Enfield, north London and Perkins of Enfield, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and were each jailed for seven years.

Reader, of Dartford, Kent, who was too ill to attend the initial sentencing, was later jailed for six years and three months.

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