Roger Coutts: Where is Securitas Depot Robber Now?

The whole of England was left shocked when a gang of armed robbers broke into a Securitas money depot in Tonbridge, Kent, on February 21, 2006, before escaping with 53 million pounds in stolen cash. The depot’s staff, along with the general manager and his family, were taken hostage in order to ensure a smooth operation.

However, minor mistakes in the planning, along with brilliant police work, helped authorities receive a significant breakthrough in the days following the robbery. Showtime’s ‘Catching Lightning’ chronicles the heist and follows the investigation that discovered how garage owner Roger Coutts was involved in the crime.

Who is Roger Coutts?

Although Roger Coutts’ parents were both born in India, they soon shifted to the United Kingdom and settled in Plumstead, North-East London. Hence, Roger spent most of his growing years in Plumstead, and he even befriended Lee Murray when they were both 4-years-old. According to reports, Roger had a tough childhood and was quite an average student at school. However, he was pretty passionate about automobiles and decided to pursue a career as a mechanic after high school.

Readers will be surprised to know that by February 2006, Roger was in a happy relationship with his girlfriend, Fiona, and the two were proud parents to their young son. Moreover, he ran the Northfleet Transit Centre van garage out of Gravesend, Kent, and reports mentioned that the business worked as a recovery and repair service with a particular emphasis on Ford Transit vans. In fact, Roger even advertised his business online and made quite a decent living.

However, once some of his co-defendants, including Lee Murray and Lea Rusha, approached with the opportunity to make easy money, Roger found it really difficult to say no. Although Roger was not involved in any significant planning, reports mention that he serviced the vehicles that were to be used in the robbery and even helped in staking out the depot’s general manager Colin Dixon’s home. Eventually, on February 21, 2006, Roger was asked to oversee the hostages, and he was also responsible for restraining them with cable ties.

Since the robbers already had Colin’s family in their custody, the general manager followed their orders, and the perpetrators left with 53 million pounds in cash. When the police began investigating the heist, they were led straight to makeup artist Michelle Hogg, who confessed to helping the robbers disguise themselves with prosthetics. Moreover, she insisted that Roger was present with the gang when they were getting their prosthetics on and even agreed to identify him to the police.

On top of it, once forensic investigators carried out a sweep of the crime scene, they took the cable ties used on the hostages back to the lab. Subsequent tests proved that Roger’s DNA was present on the ties, and the police had confirmed proof linking him to the robbery. Further evidence of the suspect’s involvement came to light once law enforcement officers found 9 million pounds of the stolen money in a container at Roger’s former workplace.

Another 8 million pounds was recovered from a bag in Southborough, Kent, which also had Roger’s DNA on it. Additionally, phone records showed that he was in constant contact with the other perpetrators, and hence, the police arrested him for his role in the crime.

Roger Coutts Continues to be in Prison

When presented in court, Roger pled not guilty and claimed he had not taken part in any robbery. He also insisted he had not met his co-defendants outside the court and mentioned that he and his friend were shopping in Maidstone and Tonbridge on the day of the robbery, which put his cell phone in proximity to the crime scene. Furthermore, Roger stated that he was in the process of buying a house from Lee Murray, which explained the phone calls between him and the perpetrators.

Lastly, Roger also testified that the prepaid cell the police attributed to him actually belonged to his co-worker, Hussein Basar, who had already left the country by then. Still, the jury wasn’t swayed by Roger’s arguments, and they convicted him of conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to commit robbery, and possession of a firearm. As a result, the judge sentenced him to 15 years to life in 2008. Incidentally, sources claim that Roger fathered another child while spending his days behind bars. Yet, with no reports speaking about possible parole, it looks like he is still incarcerated in a United Kingdom prison.

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