ATM raider in Dutch death crash was no Al Pacino’

PUBLISHED: 12:13 26 November 2009 | UPDATED: 17:22 25 August 2010

EXCLUSIVE ONE of the Britons killed in a high-speed car chase escaping police in The Netherlands after a raid on a cash machine had aspirations to work in a bank when he left school, the Times can reveal.


ONE of the Britons killed in a high-speed car chase escaping police in The Netherlands after a raid on a cash machine had aspirations to work in a bank when he left school, the Times can reveal.

Shortlands resident Aaron Cloud, 25, a former pupil at Colfe's School in Lee, allegedly blew up a supermarket ATM with a gang of four Liverpool men in the town of Driel, near Arnhem on November 14.

He and two others died in a crash when their getaway car overturned while pursued by police.

Two more remain under arrest in hospital, with one fighting for his life.

In his Colfe's 2000 to 2001 yearbook Mr Cloud stated that he saw himself "hopefully working in a bank" in the future and that his ambition was "to do well in life and always have a few quid in my pocket".

His motto for life was "luck is where planning meets opportunity" and declared the greatest love of his life as "myself". Mr Cloud transferred to Colfe's in Year 10 after attending The Ravens Wood School in Oakley Road, Bromley.

He is thought to have moved to Chislehurst in recent years.

School friends described him as a "jock" who attained decent A Level grades and was fairly popular at school.

One, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "All his old classmates are shocked. Nobody believed it could be true at first. There were rumours he'd gotten into drug dealing since school but we had no idea he'd rob a bank. It's really sad.

"A lot of people were picked on by him but he wasn't exactly the Colfe's Al Pacino."

Another source said: "He wasn't a bad person but maybe he just took the wrong path. His sister is six months pregnant and his girlfriend lived in Liverpool.

"Although he was involved in this, he wasn't horrible - just misled maybe. He was lovely looking too. His family are devastated."

CCTV footage from the incident shows a masked gang of five using explosives to blow up the ATM before making off with thousands of euros.

Officers chased the getaway car but lost sight of it.

However, just 20 minutes after the heist, Dutch police received a call telling them that a car had overturned on a road at Maarsbergen, near Utrecht.

Mr Cloud, who was a keen rugby player and a member of the Old Colfeians club, died at the scene.

Dutch police are still investigating the incident, which also resulted in the death of 21-year-old dad-of-one Michael Bellis and his friend Ben O'Brien, 27, both from Liverpool.

Officers found bundles of cash covered in security dye from capsules which exploded when the bank machine did.

A spokesperson for Colfe's School said: "Aaron was a pupil here and left the upper sixth form in 2001. We are very sorry that he has died in such regrettable circumstances."

A spokesperson for the Foreign Commonwealth Office, who confirmed Mr Cloud as one of the deceased, said: "Five British Nationals were involved in a road traffic accident on November, 14, 2009 near the town of Driel.

"We can confirm the death of three British Nationals and the hospitalisation of two British Nationals. The local police are investigating the incident. We are providing consular assistance to those involved."

Mr Cloud was not known to Bromley police, the Met or Merseyside police.

Arnhem police officer Paul Koatsier said: "It is very remarkable that we have five people coming from Britain to do this here.

"In the seven years that I have been here I have never heard of this kind of thing before.

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