Brink’s-Mat heist ringleader dies before claiming share of UK's biggest robbery

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Micky McAvoy has died following a long illness, it has been announced (Image: mirrorpix)
Micky McAvoy has died following a long illness, it has been announced (Image: mirrorpix)

A Brink’s-Mat heist ringleader has died having never collected his share of Britain’s biggest-ever robbery.

Micky McAvoy passed away aged 70 in South London following a long illness.

A senior detective who worked on the case said on Friday that McAvoy was cheated out of the spoils of the £26million robbery by M25 killer Kenneth Noye and other villains.

Around half of the haul, worth over £100million today, has never been traced.

Veteran boxing trainer Peter Fury, uncle of heavyweight champion Tyson, posted a tribute online on New Year’s Day next to a picture of them both: “My true friend for 30yrs gave up his battle last night to be with his loving wife Kathy , your [sic] together now, love you both beyond life, until we walk together again. Micky Mcavoy RIP.”

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Brink’s-Mat heist ringleader dies before claiming share of UK's biggest robberyHis good friend Peter Fury offered an Instagram tribute to his pal

McAvoy had been living in Spain following his release from prison 22 years ago.

His death comes as a new six part BBC drama is due to be broadcast next month about the crime.

Hugh Bonneville, Jack Lowden and Dominic Cooper star in The Gold which follows the decades-long aftermath of what has been described as “the crime of the century”.

The robbery was executed by a gang of six, who expected to find £3 million in cash but instead discovered three tons of gold, 6,800 bars of it, packed into 76 cardboard boxes in the Heathrow warehouse.

Brink’s-Mat heist ringleader dies before claiming share of UK's biggest robberyThe Brink's-Mat robbery which occurred in November 1983 (Mirrorpix)

Only three men - McAvoy, mastermind Brian Robinson, nicknamed “The Colonel”, and his brother-in-law Anthony Black, a security guard at the unit - were convicted of carrying out the robbery on November 26, 1983.

They had revealed too much inside knowledge during the raid and detectives quickly uncovered the link between Robinson and Black.

Officers arrested McAvoy and Robinson a few days later after Black spilled the beans.

McAvoy, described as “The Bully” by the guards, was picked out in an ID parade.

Brink’s-Mat heist ringleader dies before claiming share of UK's biggest robberySix robbers broke into a warehouse at Heathrow Airport and stole £26 million worth of gold, diamonds and cash (PA)

He and Robinson both got 25 years, and Black got six years.

Noye, 75, was later jailed for 14 years for handling the gold alongside Hatton Garden mastermind Brian Reader, 83, who was handed an eight year sentence.

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The pair were cleared of the 1985 stabbing of undercover officer John Fordham in the grounds of Noye’s home in West Kingsdown, Kent. Noye had told the jury he had acted in self defence.The retired detective said: “McAvoy was our initial target before Noye.

Micky was a foot soldier, had he joined the army he would have made a good special forces operative.

Brink’s-Mat heist ringleader dies before claiming share of UK's biggest robberyPolice at the scene at the London airport (Mirrorpix)

“He was robbed by those who realised the gold into cash and assets. Noye and others in this gold conduit took his share.”

South London minicab firm boss Brian Perry had been entrusted with the gold. He recruited Noye along with bent financier Gordon Parry and crooked solicitor Michael Relton.

It was siphoned into offshore accounts before being invested in British property.

Noye allegedly salted away £5million he and Reader raised laundering the proceeds.

Brink’s-Mat heist ringleader dies before claiming share of UK's biggest robberyHugh Bonneville stars in a new six part BBC drama is due to be broadcast next month about the crime (Dave Benett/Getty Images for Moë)

Perry was jailed in 1992 for nine years for handling the gold, while Relton got 12 years and Parry ten.

Perry was shot dead outside his Bermondsey minicab office in 2001. Robinson and McAvoy had been freed from prison the year before.

While wanted for the 1996 M25 road-rage murder of Stephen Cameron, Noye fled to France by helicopter then on to Spain in a private jet. When caught on the Costa del Sol in 1998 he was driving a £15,000 4x4 and owned a house reportedly worth £500,000.

Noye was released in 2019.

Robinson died in a South London nursing home last year aged 76 following a long illness.

Tom Pettifor

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