Prosecutors unable to unearth armed robber's missing million
An armed robber who made more than £1 million from crime has paid back less than a tenth of his ill-gotten gains.
Billy Gilling, currently serving an 18-year sentence for robbery and burglary, profited from his life of crime to the tune of £1.15 million.
But more than £1 million will remain outstanding unless the 47-year-old, who prosecutors claimed had squirrelled away vast sums, comes into money in the future.
At a hearing in 2008 a judge told Gilling, whose real first name is Vivian, to repay £240,500 within six months or face two years being added to his sentence.
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But following a suspected arson at his former home, the threat of more time inside was removed as the amount which could be recovered was found to be only £102,000.
Prosecutors had initially asked for the "professional criminal" to repay the whole £1.15 million saying he must have hidden vast sums made from a life of crime.
A covert bug fitted in his flat heard him boasting to a relative that he had put away money where it would never be found.
Last week Judge Euan Ambrose, sitting at Swindon Crown Court, heard a receiver had been appointed to sort out Gilling's financial affairs.
Senghin Kong, for Gilling, said after selling off all he could lay his hands on, the receiver managed to raise only about £102,000.
Four years ago, Gilling was told he would have to sell the home in Southwick, where his wife Naomi had been living.
But a few days before the receiver was appointed, the house mysteriously burned down in what firefighters are treating was a case of suspected arson.
Gilling was not in court to hear the wrapping up of the case under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
He was convicted of conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to burgle following a five week trial in 2007.
As well as robbing and burgling a string of post offices he also carried out an armed robbery of the Gardiner Houlgate auction house, at Corsham, in 2005 in which two workers were tied up while £330,000 of jewels and cash were taken.
In the two years before the offence he was involved in 11 robberies and burglaries of post offices in west Wiltshire, Bath and Somerset.