Armed bank robbers get 12 life terms

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The Independent Online
TWO MEN convicted of a series of armed bank robberies were sentenced to a total of 12 life sentences yesterday.

David Adams, 43, and William Harding, 59, who were found guilty of a list of charges from robbery to possessing firearms, stole tens of thousands of pounds in a series of raids, Harrow Crown Court in north London was told.

One security guard was shot in the leg and dozens of customers and bank staff left traumatised by the masked raiders. Security camera showed members of the public and bank staff paralysed by fear.

The jury was also shown police film of Harding levelling his revolver at an armed officer who still had the presence of mind to shove a passer- by out of the line of fire. The stand-off, with gun muzzles inches apart, was ended only when a second police officer hit him with a cosh from behind. Neither of the men showed any emotion as they were sentenced.

After hearing details of Harding's 39-year long criminal record, which included an armed bank raid in which another security guard was shot, Judge Roger Sanders told him: "On every instance you pointed your loaded weapon at an innocent victim and on one occasion you deliberately shot the victim ... you are a ruthless, heartless and hardened professional criminal who presents a permanent threat to society."

He told Harding, of Hatch End, Hertfordshire, that on each of the nine offences he was convicted of - two of armed robbery, one attempt, three of possessing a firearm with intent to commit armed robbery, one of possessing a stun-gun for a similar purpose, one of making use of a loaded firearm with intent to resist arrest and one of causing grievous bodily harm- he would be jailed for life. The judge added that he would have to serve at least 15 years before being considered for parole.

Adams, of Barnet, north London, received three life sentences after being found guilty of armed robbery and two charges of possessing firearms with intent to commit robbery. He was told he would have to serve nine years before parole could be considered.