Page last updated at 14:00 GMT, Monday, 28 January 2008

The one that got away?

By Chris Summers
BBC News

Five people have been convicted in connection with Britain's biggest robbery. But one of the Securitas robbers remains on the loose.

Only one of the robbers got away scot-free with their attempt to steal £53m from the Securitas depot in Tonbridge by kidnapping manager Colin Dixon and his family.

The Policeman caught on CCTV
Police believe Keyinde Patterson was The Policeman

The missing man was dubbed "The Policeman" by detectives on the case, because of the bogus police uniform he can be seen wearing on the CCTV footage from inside the depot.

But who was he?

Sir John Nutting QC, who led the prosecution case at the Old Bailey, told the jury it was believed "The Policeman" might have been Keyinde Patterson, who has since fled the country and is thought to be somewhere in the Caribbean.

Mr Patterson, whose family are originally from Jamaica, has an identical twin called Taiwo who police traced and interviewed during the inquiry.

Taiwo Patterson's interviews shed little light on his brother's whereabouts on 21 February 2006 or since and he himself was never charged with anything.

The Patterson twins come from Croydon and it is thought that Keyinde may have met Mr X - the mastermind of the robbery - through a south London underworld connection.

'Insufficient evidence'

Sir John told the jury Keyinde Patterson was one of a number of people who the police wished to locate but "had insufficient evidence to prosecute".

At the start of the trial, in June, he said: "Keyinde Patterson may well have played a significant part in the robbery. He is one of twin brothers.

He wanted his nose flatter so I used rubber baby teats. The ends were cut off and I put them up his nostrils.
Michelle Hogg

"In the past 15 months or so Patterson has chosen to absent himself from his usual haunts. The Kent police would like to question him but have been unable to do so. Patterson may be in the West Indies, whence he originates."

Key prosecution witness Michelle Hogg said a man she was introduced to as Kane came to her flat with the other robbers to be fitted for prosthetic disguises.

The prosecution suggested Kane was Keyinde Patterson.

Miss Hogg described applying make-up to Kane, who the trial heard needed to be disguised as he was going to pretend to be one of the bogus police officers and needed to show his face to depot manager Colin Dixon.

Several jurors giggled when Miss Hogg recalled: "He wanted his nose flatter so I used rubber baby teats. The ends were cut off and I put them up his nostrils.

"That made his nose look flatter and wider with flared arches. I also pinned his eyes back. I used the straps from my bra."

But she said the disguise, complete with long beard, was not very satisfactory and made him look "like a black Father Christmas".

Donna Small and Asha Jama were left disabled from the drive-by shooting
Donna Small (left) and Asha Jama were scarred by the attack

Ironically Keyinde Patterson might not have been free if it had not been for the Crown Prosecution Service, who dropped charges of conspiracy to murder against him on 18 October 2005.

Mr Patterson had been accused of being part of a gang who were responsible for a horrific night of violence.

He and several other men were accused of shooting dead Rufus Edwards and Mark Warmington at the Spotlight club in Croydon on 2 October 2004.

Hail of bullets

Just over an hour later the same gang fired a hail of bullets at a car in Bristol, hitting two women, Asha Jama and Donna Small, who had got a lift from a nightclub with Curtis Brooks, who police believed was the actual target.

Mr Brooks and another male passenger were uninjured in the shooting, but Ms Small was left permanently disabled and Ms Jama was blinded in her left eye after being hit by flying glass.

Police sources told the BBC the charges against Mr Patterson might have been dropped because of the difficulty in proving that it was him and not his identical twin who was involved.

The CPS would not confirm this, but a spokesman said: "Having reviewed the case we decided there was insufficient evidence for it to go ahead."

As it happened Mr Patterson's co-accused were eventually acquitted of all charges, but not until July 2006 - five months after the Securitas robbery.

Detectives have accepted they do not have a "prima facie" case against Keyinde Patterson, so even if they could trace him they would not be able to extradite him.

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