Many believe George Francis, 63, was the ninth man to die as a result of "the curse of Brink's-Mat" after he was gunned down four years ago by John O'Flynn and Terence Conaghan, professional killers with more than 60 convictions each. They shot Mr Francis four times in his car as he arrived at his south London haulage firm early one morning in May 2003.
Yesterday, the so-called curse took the limelight twice in one day when it was announced that ?2.1m worth of assets belonging to a property dealer once accused of links to the robbery were frozen by the courts after a case was brought by the Assets Recovery Agency.
Michael Lawson was cleared in the 1980s of conspiring to handle stolen gold from the robbery. In 2003, he was convicted of running a multimillion-pound drug smuggling operation, but acquitted after an appeal and retrial. However the ARA accused him laundering the proceeds of drug smuggling through the buying and selling of houses and land.
The connection to Brink's-Mat was never proved against Francis or Lawson. However, they would have watched with interest as murder, double-dealing and betrayal seemed to engulf all those associated with the robbery - ?10m of the stolen gold is unaccounted for, and it is believed the "curse" is simply an internecine struggle over who is owed what.
Nine people linked to the raid have been murdered and Lawson himself survived a murder attempt. Hooded gunmen burst through the doors of his Kent pub and shot him at close range 18 years ago.
Yesterday Judge Martin Stephens told O'Flynn and Conaghan: "You are both intent on the use of extreme violence as and when required." The court was told their victim had a "chequered history" and was "no stranger to crime".
O'Flynn and Conaghan, whose lawyers had pleaded for leniency on the grounds of their age and that they could die in jail, were sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years. O'Flynn, 53, of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and Conaghan, 54, of Springburn, Glasgow, were paid ?30,000 to murder Francis. A third man, Harry Richardson, 59, of Orpington, Kent, was cleared of arranging the hit.
A cigarette end found outside the premises contained O'Flynn's DNA while a 9mm Luger bullet, the same type used in the hit, was found near the building. The judge said the killers had prepared the murder with "meticulous care", and had adjusted a CCTV camera so that it would not capture the killing