Page last updated at 17:53 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Heathrow raid accused 'let down' by justice system

Peter Blake
Mr Blake went on the run from the court on 18 February

A man accused of taking part in a £1.75m armed robbery at Heathrow Airport has said he feels "let down" by the justice system.

Peter Blake, 57, of Notting Hill, denied being involved in "jury tampering" which resulted in the case being heard without a jury.

Mr Blake, who went on the run from the court last Wednesday, and three others deny several charges including robbery.

The prosecution allege they took part in the warehouse raid in February 2004.

Mr Justice Treacy is trying Mr Blake, John Twomey and Glen Cameron, both from New Milton, Hampshire, and Barry Hibberd, of Shepherd's Bush, west London.

There is no evidence that I have been involved in any jury tampering and I feel let down by the system that's been going for 400 years
Peter Blake

This is the first crown court criminal trial without a jury in England and Wales for more than 350 years.

Three previous Old Bailey trials have collapsed, the last of which was abandoned in December 2008 following claims of jury tampering.

Mr Blake, who is accused of firing at a member of staff at the Menzies World Cargo warehouse during the raid, also denied ever possessing a loaded gun.

In his defence he said: "I have never been involved in any jury tampering.

"There is no evidence that I have been involved in any jury tampering and I feel let down by the system that's been going for 400 years."

When asked by his barrister Graeme Wilson: "Have you ever had a gun with live loaded ammunition in your possession?", he replied: "Never, sir."

Mr Blake pleaded guilty to breaching his bail when failed to return to the court on 18 February. He surrendered himself at the court Tuesday.

The court heard he was involved in a building society robbery in 1982, an armed raid at a store in Neasden in 1983 - in which he claimed to be the getaway driver - and an attempted robbery in July 1992.

The case continues.



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SEE ALSO
On-the-run raid suspect in court
23 Feb 10 |  England
Airport raid accused goes on run
18 Feb 10 |  England

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