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John Palmer henchman jailed over timeshare fraud... did trial reveal anything about gangster's m

MURDERED: Essex Police is expected to release an update about its investigation (PA)

A FRAUD trial that was hoped to shed new light on the murder of gangster John "Goldfinger" Palmer has concluded with his right-hand man being jailed for 20 months. Richard Anthony Cashman, 52, originally from the north east was jailed by the Spanish National Court in Madrid on Friday for running Palmer's multi-million pound Tenerife timeshare scam while the kingpin was serving a prison sentence in HMP Long Lartin over the same scam in the early 2000s. Palmer had been due to go on trial with Cashman and nine other associates, but he was shot dead in the garden of his home in South Weald, Essex, in June 2015, just weeks after the charges were announced. Essex Police is now expected to release an update about the murder enquiry after saying it would wait for the trial to conclude.

TRIAL: The defendants in court at the start of the hearing in January (alamy)

The force is working on a theory that he was killed because members of the underworld feared he was about to turn supergrass in a bid to avoid jail. The notorious timeshare scam is thought to have netted him up to £300 million at its peak in the 1990s. The judge who tried the Spanish case took more than three months to reach verdicts and hand out the sentences, which were much lower then initially indicated. Palmer's partner Christina Ketley, who shared the £800,000 home in Essex where he was shot dead in the garden in June 2015, was due to stand trial, but the case was dropped against her as it started on technical grounds as it was against two other defendants. Palmer had been charged with fraud, money laundering and firearms offences alongside the others in May 2015.

HELD: Cashman is arrested by Spanish Police in 2002 (El Dia)

Before his death, Palmer was facing up to 15 years in prison. He was first arrested in Spain in 2007, but not charged until 2015. The court heard that Palmer’s associates in Spain had their phones tapped and the kingpin was taped giving them orders from his British prison cell. The court heard evidence from some of 184 mainly British and German people who handed cash to Palmer's business but did not get the timeshares they paid for. Darren Morris, a nephew of Palmer, got 30 months for fraud and illegal possession of a 9mm Zastava pistol believed to have been Palmer's. Jacoba Klazina Vissecher, got eight months for fraud, which already deemed served. Keith Peter Davies, Neil Campbell Lockie and Dean Wells, all got 20 months for fraud offences, while Paul Murray was cleared of money laundering. Earlier this month we revealed that Essex Police would give no update on its investigation into the murder of Palmer until the Spanish trial concluded.

THEORY: DCI Stephen Jennings Thinks the murder could have been linked to the trial (Essex Police)

It is now hoped the force will reveal where it is at with the investigation. Cashman returned to the UK in February 2017 and gave a voluntary interview to police in connection with the murder, but was never arrested. Palmer got his nickname after being acquitted of smelting gold bars stolen in the notorious 1983 Brink’s Mat robbery. His killer stalked him through a small hole made in the garden fence before jumping over and firing six bullets from a silenced revolver. The area of the garden was not covered by CCTV. Five of the six bullets were found but there was no other forensic evidence. There were suspicions among the criminal underworld after he was charged with the offences that he may have been about to turn “super grass”. Last July, Ketley put up a £100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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