May 20 2013 Latest news:
by Stephen Moore
Thursday, February 23, 2012
The Harringay security guard of a bingo hall who helped a gang of armed robbers to steal its £44,000 takings has been jailed for 11 years.
Muhammed Mukungu, 33, of Wightman Road, let two masked raiders hide in the building before finishing his shift, the Old Bailey heard.
Armed with a gun and a crowbar, the robbers lay in wait for treasurer Carol Bryce to arrive at 7am, then held a gun to her head and ordered her to open fruit machines and a safe. They tied her up before making their escape.
Tom Wilkins, prosecuting, told the court the entire weekend takings of the Gala Bingo hall, in Enfield, were still on the premises when the raiders struck on May 31, 2010.
He said: “They wore scarves and gloves so there was no forensic evidence and their faces were covered.
“One had something that to her looked like a gun and the other had a crowbar. Her mobile phone was taken. They then tied her with cable ties to furniture in the staff room.
“That is where she was found when a security guard arrived at 8am.”
Detectives began investigating Mukungu after noticing “suspicious” call records between his phone and an unregistered pay-as-you-go number which remained in the area of the hall throughout the night.
Despite being arrested over the bingo heist, Ugandan national Mukungu later used a false passport to get another security job.
He denied conspiracy to commit robbery but was convicted alongside getaway driver Damien Latchman, 27, of Snowshill Road, Manor Park, east London, following an eight-day trial.
Mukungu admitted fraud and possession of a false identity document with intent. The two robbers, whose identities are unknown, are still at large.
Jailing Latchman for nine years, Judge Brian Barker QC said both men had been drawn to take part in the plot by the lure of “very easy money”.
Turning to Mukungu, he said: “Without your inside information and help, this crime would not have been possible. This was, and is, a gross breach of trust.
“This was a deliberate and calculating crime, and must be punished severely.”
He added that the robbers had put Ms Bryce through a “terrifying” ordeal.
“The consequences have been overwhelming and her life has been turned upside down,” he said.
“I can only hope that the psychological aspect will diminish, although it will take a long time to do so.”