Hatton Garden burglar Basil walks like Charlie Chaplin, court told | UK News
The Hatton Garden burglar nicknamed Basil walks like Charlie Chaplin, a podiatry expert has told a court trying to establish if an arrested man is him.
Michael Seed, 58, is said to be the man caught on CCTV disguised in a wig as he entered and exited the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit in London’s jewellery quarter during the 2015 Easter bank holiday weekend.
The alleged thief is the final man in the group to go on trial for the heist in which an estimated £13.7m of gold, cash and gems was stolen from 73 boxes.
Dr Gordon Burrow, a podiatry and chiropody expert, was asked to analyse footage of the burglary to give evidence on the man known as Basil by other gang members.
Prosecutors told the jury last week an expert had found consistencies between Seed’s gait and Basil’s, with Dr Burrow brought in as a professional witness on Wednesday.
He told Woolwich Crown Court that “both feet are slightly abducted”, meaning they stick out slightly.
An extreme example would be the way in which Charlie Chaplin walked, he told jurors.
Dr Burrow said Basil’s right foot “doesn’t appear to clear the ground well” in the footage.
“If you remember going back, John Thaw, who appeared in Inspector Morse, his right foot dropped down as he walked forward,” he added.
The doctor was asked to compare Basil’s gait in the burglary CCTV images to covert footage taken of Seed in Canary Wharf more than a year later in April 2016.
“Both show reliability and repeatability of the features of gait,” he said.
“There are numerous features of gait, which show consistency, of the right side especially, which are also unusual in my experience and opinion.”
He said there were a few unusual traits, including the swinging out and movement of the right foot during the “swing phase” and when the foot connects with the ground.
The court heard Seed broke his leg in a road traffic accident in 1994 – requiring a nail and screws to fix a femur fracture.
His medical records also show muscle wasting to his right thigh and a history of pain in one or both hips.
Police raided Seed’s one bedroom council flat in Liverpool Road, Islington, last March – three years after the burglary just over two miles away.
Five of the six men at the heist have been convicted of conspiring to carry out the burglary.
They are Brian Reader, 79, John “Kenny” Collins, 78, Daniel Jones, 63, Carl Wood, 61, and Terry Perkins, who died last year aged 69.
Four others – William Lincoln, 63, Hugh Doyle, 51, Terri Robinson, 38, and Bren Walters, 47 – were also convicted in connection with the crime.
Seed is also accused of taking part in a similar raid on Chatila, a Bond Street jewellers, in which thieves made off with about £1m worth of goods from display cabinets.
They tried, but failed, to gain access to a safe containing about £40m of gems and jewellery.
Jones admitted to the Chatila burglary, while Perkins died in prison before he could be tried.
Charles Matthews, 55, was convicted earlier this year of receiving stolen goods from Chatila.
Seed denies two charges of conspiracy to commit burglary and one charge of conspiracy to convert or transfer criminal property.
The trial continues.