CRIME FILE - Famous crime:
The Millennium Dome Heist
The case did not come to trial until exactly a year later, on 8 November 2001, and only six of the original gang were in attendance at the Old Bailey, as Terry Millman had died of cancer earlier in the year. Despite having been caught red-handed, the case took three months to hear, and the jury were unable to return a unanimous verdict. The main point of contention was the distinction between stealing and the more serious robbing, which implies stealing with force. None of the gang had been armed and no shots had been fired at all. The judge was forced to accept a majority verdict after more than a week of deliberations and the men were found guilty on 18 February 2002. Public opinion seemed to be equally split between admiration for their audacity and disbelief that such a plan could ever have succeeded.
Raymond Betson and William Cockram were jailed for 18 years each, Aldo Ciarrocchi and Bob Adams for 15 years, and Lee Wenham was jailed for nine years for masterminding the robbery. Kevin Meredith, the speedboat pilot, was jailed for five years for conspiracy to steal, despite his coercion claim.
The movie potential for the story surrounding the events that made up the Millennium Dome heist was quickly recognised. United Kingdom production company, Working Title, are developing a project called 'The Rip', which will use the events as a focus, and Brad Pitt is also rumoured to have expressed an interest in fronting a film about the heist.
It would appear that the fate of the Millennium Dome villains has not deterred others from attempting to get their hands on the 203-carat Millennium Star. In November 2005, the Natural History Museum in London was forced to close its 'Diamonds' exhibition, in which the gem was one of the star attractions, as Scotland Yard had again received credible intelligence that it was again the target of a criminal gang.