Hatton Garden ringleader sent back to jail after failing to pay back millions
Hatton Garden gang ringleader John “Kenny” Collins has been sent back to jail after failing to pay back millions of pounds stolen in the raid.
Collins was released at the end of last year after serving half of his seven-year sentence for the £13.7 million heist.
The 78-year-old, along with fellow ringleaders Brian Reader, 80, Daniel Jones, 64, and Terry Perkins, who died in prison last year aged 69, were handed one of the biggest confiscation orders in Scotland Yard’s history.
They owe a joint £5.75 million, which prosecutors say is 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.
Alarm specialist Michael Seed, 58, who was known as “Basil”, was jailed for 10 years in March after becoming the 10th person convicted in connection with the 2015 Easter Bank Holiday weekend heist and is likely to face a similar order.
Collins’s bill came to a total of £7.6 million, including the proceeds of his share of a house in Islington, north London, and a property in Spain.
An earlier hearing was told he had handed over £732,000 and recently received an offer of £742,500 for his London home, while his Spanish flat is now worth just 99,000 euros rather than the £350,000 estimated last year.
On Thursday, District Judge Richard Blake sent him back to jail for 2,309 days, more than six years, and told him he would serve half.
He said: “I recognise that Mr Collins is in his 70s. It was entirely his decision to commit that crime at a time in his life when most people hope to enjoy a quiet retirement.
“He chose not to have a quiet retirement but participated with others in a serious criminal enterprise to make substantial gain.
“The consequences of his crime were to cause very significant loss, amounting to many millions of pounds worth of property to the victims.”
Collins’s friends and family said “we love you Kenny” and “stay strong, you’ll get through this”, as he was taken down to the cells.
The judge said his decision to send Collins back to jail was not to pass a second sentence but to enforce the order.
“It is important that perpetrators of crime do not profit from their conduct. The principle is as important whatever the age of the defendant who committed the crime,” he said.
“I am satisfied Mr Collins has wilfully refused and culpably neglected to co-operate in the realisation of his identifiable assets and in what the learned judge has found as the hidden assets.”
Jones has already been sentenced to seven years after failing to pay back any of the cash.
Perkins was said by Collins’s lawyer Nathaniel Rudolf to be serving “the ultimate default sentence”, having died in prison last year, while prosecutors hope to recoup some money from his estate.
Reader, who was freed from jail last year, has not paid back a penny, but could avoid going back to jail because of his poor health.
At an earlier hearing, prosecutor Philip Stott said his lawyers had served medical evidence suggesting he “was incapable of participating in these proceedings… effectively on the grounds of the onset of dementia”.
Prosecutors will instruct their own medical experts before a confiscation hearing on October 3.