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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
'Child escaped' in 53m cash raid
Sketch of the eight Securitas robbery defendants
One woman and seven men are on trial over the 53m heist
A young child held hostage in a cage during Britain's biggest cash robbery used its small frame to wriggle through the bars, Old Bailey jurors have heard.

The child had been locked in a metal cage at the Kent Securitas depot, alongside the depot manager Colin Dixon, his wife Lynn, and 14 employees.

The prosecution said that as the gang left with 53m, they had warned their captives: "We know where you live."

Seven men and one woman deny charges in relation to the raid in February 2006.

Prosecuting, Sir John Nutting said that after the robbers made their getaway, some of the people held captive "could barely believe they were alive".

He said: "Eventually, some made attempts to get out of the cages by trying to bend the metal.

"It was in fact [the child] who... managed to expand a gap in the cage sufficient to allow [its] small frame to gain liberty."

Alarm raised

The cages at the bunker-like site in Tonbridge were normally used to hold money, Sir John told the jury.

He said that one employee, Alun Thomas, was so horrified by the gang's comment about knowing their addresses that he feared for the safety of his family and phoned his wife to tell her to leave home.

Mr Dixon, fearing the gang might return, waited for half an hour after they left before he set the alarm off, he said.

John Fowler, 58, of Elderden Farm, Staplehurst, played a "cat and mouse" game with police, Sir John told the court.

He said Mr Fowler first told police he "knew nothing" and said he would not have had "the balls" to be involved in such a raid.

"He insisted he had been set up and that he knew nothing of the whereabouts of any of the stolen money," Sir John said.

But he told jurors that eventually Mr Fowler's explanations began "to lose all contact with reality", and said that Mr Fowler later told police he had lied.

Securitas depot
The 53m Securitas raid was the UK's largest cash robbery

Earlier, the court was told that a hairdresser who helped disguise four of the accused was too scared to name them.

Michelle Hogg, 32, of Woolwich, south London, admitted applying prosthetic make-up to four men but told police she did not know what it was for.

Detectives discovered latex, sponges, make-up, false hair, brushes, cotton wool pads and grease paint in a wheelie bin outside her home in Brinklow Crescent.

The robbery gang was said to have used theatrical masks to carry out the hold-up and kidnap Mr and Mrs Dixon, and the child.

Sir John said that after Ms Hogg was arrested at her home she had been "at pains" to get rid of the prosthetic products.

She had also shredded a five-page document full of technical information about prosthetics, he said.

Fashion graduate Ms Hogg told detectives: "I would like to assist the police further so I could establish my innocence but I am terrified as to what may happen to me and my family if I say too much."

She said she had been asked to carry out the work by the boss of Hair Hectik, where she worked, the court heard.

Conspiracy charges

Roofer Lea Rusha, 35, of Lambersart Close, Southborough, Kent, is alleged to be one of the robbers and "at the heart" of the conspiracy.

Car salesman Stuart Royle, 48, of Allen Street, Maidstone, Kent, is said to have helped with the reconnaissance on the Dixon family, as well as being one of the robbers.

Mr Fowler, a former business partner of Mr Royle's, allegedly provided the lorry used in the robbery and allowed his home to be used for the cash to be divided up and for the Mr and Mrs Dixon to be held captive.

Emir Hysenaj, 27, of New Road, Crowborough, East Sussex, was said to have been the gang's "inside man", making a covert video about the operation of the depot.

He is said to be linked to them through fellow Albanian and alleged robber Jetmir Bucpapa, 26, of Hadlow Road, Tonbridge.

Garage owner Roger Coutts, 30, of The Green, Welling, Kent, may have been both a kidnapper and a robber, it is alleged.

Signwriter Keith Borer, 53, of Hempstead Lane, Maidstone, denies a charge of handling stolen money.

All the defendants except Borer are charged with conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to kidnap Mr Dixon, his wife and a child and conspiracy to possess firearms.

The trial was adjourned until Friday.

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