A MEMBER of the Hatton Garden jewellery raid gang who ran a car dealership in Kent lost a High Court challenge today against an order that he must pay back more than £6.6 million.
Brian ‘The Guv’nor’ Reader, now aged 79, of Dartford, Kent, who together with son Paul ran Pentire Cars and Commercials, failed to persuade three judges at the Court of Appeal in London that a confiscation order against him was wrongly imposed and should be quashed.
Reader, pictured, one of the ringleaders of the notorious 2015 multi-million-pound heist, was given a prison term of six years and three months in March 2016 for his role in the break-in. He had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary. A charge against Paul Reader of conspiracy to commit burglary was dropped.
The Hatton Garden gang carried out the meticulously planned crime over the Easter weekend, ransacking 73 boxes at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit after using a drill to bore a hole into the vault wall.
In January this year, Reader and the three other ringleaders were ordered to pay back various sums following a hearing at London’s Woolwich Crown Court.
A judge said they had jointly benefited from an estimated £13.69 million of cash, gold and gems stolen during the raid. They were told that if they failed to comply with the confiscation orders they would face another seven years in jail.
Reader, who claims he did not receive anything from the proceeds of the burglary, was ordered to pay £6,644,951, including the sale of his £639,800 home and development land worth £533,000.
Lord Justice Singh, Mr Justice Goss and Judge Deborah Taylor, who heard that Reader was not in custody, rejected his application for leave to appeal against the order, ruling that he had no ‘arguable’ grounds.
Mr Justice Goss, announcing the decision, said the judge who imposed the order had made ‘no error of law’ and was ‘justified in making a finding of joint benefit based on the available evidence’.
The four ringleaders were ordered to pay back a total of £27.5 million in January, but the Crown Prosecution Service said afterwards that if one of the four paid an amount of nearly £6.5 million it would come off all their bills.
In August, Hatton Garden burglar Daniel Jones, of Enfield, north London, was handed more jail time after failing to pay back more than £6 million. He was sentenced to another six years and 287 days because he failed to pay off the confiscation order imposed in his case.
The appeal judges heard today that Reader, the oldest member of the gang, was in ‘ill health’.
In September 2016, he failed to win a cut in his prison sentence. Court of Appeal judges were urged to show ‘mercy’ and reduce the term following a ‘dramatic’ deterioration in his health. But the court ruled that his sentence was not ‘manifestly excessive’.