The "master" of the Hatton Garden vault heist, the biggest burglary in English legal history, has been sentenced to six years and three months in jail, despite being gravely ill.
Brian Reader, 77, who appeared at Woolwich crown court via videolink from Belmarsh prison, was told his ill health meant his sentence was reduced by one year.
Reader pleaded guilty to his part in the meticulously planned £14 million heist at a hearing last year, along with three other ringleaders.
On 9 March, six of the gang were sentenced to a total of 34 years in prison for their part in what has become one of the UK's most notorious crimes, not least due the age of the perpetrators.
Reader was referred to as the "master" or the "guvnor" of the operation by his accomplices in covert police recordings – something seized upon by the prosecution. But Reader didn't take part in the raid and left the scene at the last minute, as the gang encountered difficulties entering the vault, and was later castigated for "bottling it".
The sentencing judge said he was satisfied of Reader's key role in the crime.
Reader provided one of the more colourful details of the criminal trial by travelling to the crime scene on the number 55 bus, using his senior citizens' free travel pass.
He has been described by police as a career criminal who in 1986 was jailed for eight years for conspiracy to handle stolen goods in connection to the £26 million armed robbery of the Brink's-Mat warehouse near Heathrow.
Only £3.7 million's worth of the diamonds, gold, and jewellery that were stolen in the Hatton Garden heist has been recovered and police are still appealing for information on the remainder's whereabouts.
Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Patrick Smith at email@example.com.
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