by Adam Fresco, London Times
Cage fighter held over £53 million Kent robbery

by Adam Fresco, London Times

A man arrested in Morocco in connection with Britain’s biggest cash robbery was today named as martial arts expert Lee Murray.

Mr Murray, who is believed to have been under surveillance for several weeks, was detained in the capital Rabat yesterday on suspicion of kidnap and robbery.

Kent police also revealed that two men had been arrested on Friday in connection with money laundering. They said that a “significant amount” of money had been recovered but refused to confirm reports that it was £1 million.

The money was still being counted and forensically examined today to see if it was connected to the £53 million Securitas raid in Tonbridge, Kent, four months ago.

Moroccan police swooped on the suspect, who is known as Lee “Lightning” Murray, while he was with other men near to the Mega Mall in the Souisi district.

Mr Murray, 26, is a well known cage fighter, who has appeared on television. Cage fighting is a mixture of kick boxing and wrestling in which contestants fight in a cage.

Mr Murray, who is from the South London area, nearly died last year when he was stabbed outside a London nightclub.

Detective Superintendent Paul Gladstone, Kent Police’s head of Serious and Major Crime, said that the UK would now be seeking Mr Murray’s extradition.

Britain has no formal extradition treaty with Morocco, so would have to make a special, one-off request. The last extradition from Morocco to Britain was in 1995.

Speaking outside Kent Police HQ, Mr Gladstone, said: “At 4.30pm yesterday Moroccan police officers arrested a 26-year-old man, Lee Murray, of Sidcup, South London, near the Mega Mall shopping centre in the capital city, Rabat.

“He was arrested for robbery, kidnap and other offences linked to the £53 million Securitas raid in Tonbridge, Kent, in February.

“The arrest was made with the authority of the Crown Prosecution Service, Kent Police and the Moroccan authorities. The man is in custody in Rabat and the United Kingdom is now seeking extradition.

“We are grateful for the help of the Moroccan authorities and Foreign and Commonwealth Office in this matter.

“This latest development is part of our ongoing investigation and our inquiries continue.

“We are aware that some media are reporting that a further £1 million cash has been recovered, linked to the Securitas robbery.

“Working with Surrey and Hampshire Police, we did arrest a number of people in Surrey and Hampshire on Friday and have now charged two men, from Devon and Hampshire, with the offence of money laundering. A significant amount of cash was recovered.

“However, we are not able to confirm the amount at this stage or link the cash to the robbery or any similar crime. The money is now being counted and forensically examined.”

Five men and two women have already been charged in connection with the robbery and are due to appear in court next month.

Raiders netted £53,116,760 [approximately 90 million U.S. dollars] in the early hours of February 22. Most of the cash is still missing.