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Sunday, 5 October 2008

Mark Nunes had been planning and executing robberies across southern England

08:30 |

Mark Nunes ran towards a G4S cash van, a Beretta 9mm pistol in his outstretched hand pointed directly at Michael Player, the guard. At that instant a police sniper fired a single shot and Nunes fell backwards. He was dead.Simultaneously a blue Volvo swung out of a disabled parking bay and braked by the van with its rear passenger door open. This was the getaway car, intended for Nunes, 35, and his accomplice Andrew Markland, 36, who was now running across the road. But instead of jumping into the car, Markland ran past and picked up the gun. Another police marksman fired and Markland fell, dropping the gun. As he lay on the ground there was a third rifle shot. His wounds were fatal. Suddenly there were armed police everywhere – prodding the men on the ground to see if they were still armed, trying to talk to the shocked security guard and running for first aid equipment. Because of the blood and the pain in his wrist, Mr Player thought he had been shot. "Most times, we don't come off better," he said. In the confusion, the Volvo sped off. Its driver, Terry Wallace, was tracked as he dumped the car and made his way by train back to south London and the estate in Brixton where Nunes lived. Wallace made contact with other members of the Nunes Gang which had carried out at least 18 cash van robberies over the previous 18 months. The Metropolitan Police's Flying Squad, which had been watching and gathering intelligence on Nunes for months, was not far behind. A surveillance camera hidden in a tree outside Nunes's flat filmed Wallace - gesticulating with his arms as he described the shooting. Yesterday, at Kingston Crown Court, Wallace, 26, and three other members of Nunes's gang were convicted of conspiracy to rob. Three other men have already admitted offences linked to the parts they played as drivers, look-outs, scouts and robbers in his criminal organisation. All the men now face lengthy prison sentences. Brendan Kelly, QC, for the prosecution, told the court: "Despite their skill, their planning and their patience - their luck ran out." From the time he left prison in 2005 until the day he died, Nunes had been planning and executing robberies across southern England - from Ipswich and Cambridge to Bristol and Bath. They made off with at least £500,000.Nunes did not take part in every raid, but had organised each one - recruiting the team and carrying out extensive reconnaissance. The indictment listed 18 raids but police believe the gang was as many as 10 others. A career criminal, Nunes served three years and nine months of a jail term for a cash van raid in London in October 2000. Immediately he was freed, Nunes took up where he left off but deliberately targeted deliveries outside the capital. His theory was that cash vans would be less security-conscious in the provinces and the Flying Squad would not be on his tail.
Wallace, Johnson, Leroy Wilkinson, 29 and Victor Iniodu, 34, were convicted of conspiracy to rob after a five-week trial. Three other men - Leroy Hall, Leon McKenzie and Brian Henry - admitted the charge.

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