Robbery ‘insider’ launches appeal
|BBC Thursday, 11 November, 2004
A security guard jailed for his role in a £6.6m armed robbery has started an appeal against his conviction.
Graham Huckerby, 44, was jailed for 14 years for being the “inside man” in the 1995 robbery of his Securicor van in Salford, Greater Manchester.
Huckerby’s defence team told the Court of Appeal he had co-operated with the robbers due to post-traumatic stress.
Prosecutors in the former policeman’s original trial in 2002 argued that his actions meant he was in on the robbery.
The Securicor van being driven by Huckerby was raided at the Midland Bank Clearing Centre on 3 July 1995.
At the time it was the biggest cash in transit robbery since the Great Train Robbery of 1963.
Nearly seven years after the incident the former policeman was jailed for conspiracy to rob.
Huckerby’s defence team is arguing that his co-operation, and failure to activate alarms, was due to fear following a robbery seven months previously in which he saw his colleague beaten and stabbed.
On Thursday, defence QC Stephen Kamlish said the mental health issue was not addressed at the original trial.
Mr Kamlish said: “Without the psychiatric picture the defence would have been deprived of important evidence which renders this conviction unsafe.”
Speaking for the prosecution, Charles Garside QC said fresh evidence about Huckerby’s mental state should not be allowed because it had been available to the defendant at his trial.
He said: “Mr Huckerby is now trying to put before the court a different version of events than the one put before the jury that tried him.”
But Dr Ben Green and Stephen Regel both told the court that they thought Huckerby had been psychologically affected by the first robbery.
They said he displayed symptoms of PTSD after the first robbery, which would have been triggered during the second robbery.
His symptoms included ‘survivor guilt’ flashbacks, sleep problems and edginess.
Huckerby, who is from Prestwich, has always denied any involvement and insisted that he allowed the gang into his vehicle because they held him at gunpoint and said they were holding a colleague hostage.
Making a profit
He drove off as instructed but was told to stop a few hundred yards later.
The gang tied him to a lamp-post, then escaped with the cash.
Huckerby’s legal team say there was scant evidence of him profiting financially, despite being an alleged insider.
The police pointed to £1,000 which had been paid into his bank account.
But such a sum – which Huckerby says was a loan from his mother to help pay off personal debts – would have been a paltry return from a £6.6m raid, he has insisted.
Despite a four-year investigation none of the robbers were ever captured and none of the money recovered.
Two other men were acquitted.
Huckerby’s appeal was kick-started by investigative journalist Don Hale, a former editor of the Matlock Mercury.
He famously campaigned for six years for the release of Stephen Downing who was convicted of murder and spent 27 years in jail.
Mr Downing’s conviction was eventually quashed.
Huckerby was granted leave to appeal last year along with James Power – who was tried alongside him – after employing a new legal team.
Power, from Greater Manchester, had been described as an accomplice and “handler” for Huckerby and also given 14 years, although he was not present during the robbery.
Power’s case rests on the outcome of Huckerby’s.
The 2002 trial was the second time that the pair had been tried.
They were tried with two others in July 2001.
The others were acquitted, but the jury failed to return verdicts on Huckerby and Power.
A re-trial the following year led to their convictions.
The two-day appeal concludes on Friday.