“Get on the floor or you’re dead”
Six thieves broke into the Brink’s Mat warehouse at Heathrow Airport a month before Christmas 1983 and stole three tons of gold bullion (6,840 bars of it, packed into 76 cardboard boxes worth £26,369,777). Pointing a gun at guard Robin Riseley, a robber shouted, “Get on the floor or you’re fucking dead.” The robbers then cut the trousers off senior guard, Michael Scouse, and Robin Riseley before pouring watered-down petrol over them.
The raid was organized by Brian Robinson whose brother-in-law, Tony Black, was a security guard at the warehouse. The police quickly investigated the backgrounds of the security personnel and arrested Black, who confessed his role on Tuesday 6 December 1983. He received a sentence of six years on 17 February 1984 and served three.
On 3 December 1984 Robinson, 41, and the gang leader Micky McAvoy, 33, were each sentenced to 25 years imprisonment at the Old Bailey for armed robbery. A third man, Tony White, 40, was cleared because of a lack of evidence. However, White, who was on the dole and living in a council house, quickly spent £400,000 buying and restoring homes in London and Kent. In 1997 he was jailed for his part in a drugs ring. Before he was sent down McAvoy gave part of his loot to an acquaintance called Brian Perry who, in turn, hired Kenneth Noye who had links to a genuine gold dealer in Bristol. Noye arranged for the gold to be melted down but, because there was so much gold, the money it raised (about £3 million) was noticed by the Treasury who alerted the police.
Noye was put under surveillance on 26 January 1985. That month he discovered John Fordham, a 45-year-old undercover policeman in his garden at Hollywood Cottage, West Kingsdown, Kent, and stabbed him ten times. At the resulting trial, the jury found him not guilty on 12 December 1985 on the grounds of self-defence, despite there being no defensive wounds on DC Fordham’s body. Noye was found guilty of conspiracy to handle the Brink’s Mat gold, fined £700,000 and sentenced to four years in prison.
Unit 7, Heathrow International Trading Estate, Middlesex, England
6.25am Saturday 26 November 1983
Noye was released from prison in May 1994. Two years later, at about 1.15pm on 19 May 1996, on the M25/M20 intersection at Swanley, in Kent, he killed Stephen Cameron, a small-time drug dealer who owed Noye money.
Noye left England but in 1998 was arrested in Spain and deported back to England where he was jailed for life on 14 April 2000. None of the gold has been recovered. Some vanished completely and some probably reappeared in bank accounts in Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Miami and the Bahamas.