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TOWIE stepdad jailed for part in gold robbery
9:29am Monday 10th December 2012 in Local news
A GANG, including their “inside man” from Westcliff, has been jailed for an “Italian-Job” style heist.
David Chatwood, the stepfather of The Only Way Is Essex stars Sam and Billie Faiers, was involved in the £1million bullion robbery.
Chatwood, 58, of Sawyers Grove, Brentwood, was part of the gang who used lorry driver Brian Mulcahay of Grosvenor Road, Westcliff, as their “inside man” in the daring raid.
Mucahay, 46, had been en route from Switzerland to Birmingham in his vehicle on October 4.
But he called his employers to say he had been robbed as he travelled through Belgium. Police found him locked in his vehicle.
In fact, he had been part of an elaborate scheme to steal gold and silver bullion.
Mucahay was jailed for three-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal.
Judge Richard Hone, sitting at the Old Bailey, said it was a "well organised and sophisticated" conspiracy.
But the robbers were captured within days, as they had been unaware they were being watched by police as they hatched their plot.
Chatwood was also seen to contact some of the other accused conspirators four days later at a Harvester restaurant in Dartford, Kent.
He was sentenced to the equivalent of four years - as he has already been in prison since April.
This was because he had been released from prison on licence, after being jailed in 2001 for 12 years for drugs and firearms offences.
Sam and Billie Faiers had written a letter to the judge pleading him to spare their stepfather from jail.
They said he helped him in the boutique-style shops they run, but this was not enough to save him.
Jason Bartfeld, representing Chatwood, said: "Unique to Mr Chatwood's case is the media profile of his daughters, who are sitting in court.
"That, to Mr Chatwood, brings an additional sense of shame at the adverse publicity they have had to suffer, and will no doubt suffer, as a result of his actions."
Stanley Rose, 75, of Iver, Pilgrims Hatch, Brentwood, was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal.
David Gale, 55, of Hansells Mead, Harlow, and Gary Cummings, 51, of Anne Way, Ilford, all Essex, were each jailed for three years.
John Corley, 53, of Tankerton Road, Whitstable, Kent, was given six years for the same offence as he was found guilty after trial.
A seventh man, Matthew Middleton, 42, of Crows Road, Epping, Essex, also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced at a later date.
Gale’s girlfriend, Sheron Mancini, 53, was cleared in September of trying to smuggle two small gold bars in her bra.