Page last updated at 20:07 GMT, Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Securitas robber's wife shows loyalty

Robber nicknamed Hi Viz
Bucpapa was said the robber nicknamed Hi Viz by police

Five men have been given jail sentences after being convicted of taking part in Britain's biggest cash robbery. BBC News's Chris Summers was at the Old Bailey.

Jetmir Bucpapa is, in many ways, a very lucky man.

Yes, he has just been convicted of taking part in Britain's biggest ever robbery, but few spouses would stand by their man like his wife, Rebecca.

Not only does he face a minimum of 15 years in jail but he will be deported to his native Albania on completion of his sentence.

On top of that, the trial heard evidence of her husband's infidelity with a number of women.

But Mrs Bucpapa appeared in court on Tuesday and exchanged smiles with her doomed husband from her lofty position in the public gallery.

Despite Monday's guilty verdict she may, of course, still believe in his innocence.

Clockwise from top left, Lea Rusha, Stuart Royle, Emir Hysenaj, Jetmir Bucpapa and Roger Coutts.
Greed backed by the threat of violence
Mr Justice Penry-Davey

But the judge, Mr Justice Penry-Davey, made it quite clear what he thought of Bucpapa and his four co-conspirators in his tightly scripted sentencing remarks.

The judge - whose jowly countenance belies the fact that he is as young as Paul McCartney - clearly has a razor-sharp intellect hidden behind his deceptively bumbling appearance.

He made short shrift of Bucpapa's defence barrister, Charles Conway, who sought to claim that "greed, not violence" was at the heart of the Securitas case.

"Greed backed by the threat of violence," interjected his lordship.

Mr Justice Penry-Davey said the raid was "organised banditry" and the robbers had been playing for "uniquely high stakes".

'Indeterminate' sentence

Conscious of the victim impact statements which had been handed to him by the prosecution - and perhaps mindful of the presence in the public gallery of a handful of workers from the Tonbridge depot - he mentioned the "terror" which they must have felt on the night of the robbery.

One of the five convicted men, Stuart Royle, was absent from the dock, having refused to leave his cell at Belmarsh prison.

He has been sulking since November and has missed a large part of the trial.

The four who were present wore open-necked shirts beneath smart suits and were flanked by nine prison officers.

Richard and Judy

They showed little emotion but, as Lea Rusha was led away to start an "indeterminate" sentence of no less than 15 years, he smiled as if pleasantly surprised by the sentence.

When the last defendant - inside man Emir Hysenaj - had been sent down the hordes of journalists who had packed the court rushed off to file their newsflashes and two of the trial jurors who had come along out of curiosity withdrew, having been excused from jury service for life.

Author Howard Sounes, who has attended every single day of the seven-month trial and is writing a book about the robbery, said his farewells to court staff and dashed off for an urgent appointment on Richard and Judy's sofa.

I wonder whether Richard and Judy will still be on TV when Bucpapa comes out of prison - and will his wife be there to greet him?



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