Rajinder Sahota who plunged from QE2 Bridge was jailed in 2003 following series of armed robberies
THE 42-year-old man who jumped to his death from the QE2 Bridge at the Dartford Crossing was part of a gang jailed in 2003 for conspiring to handle £11m of stolen goods.
Police officers spent four hours negotiating with Rajinder Sahota, who lived in Leicester, before he jumped into the Thames at around 3pm on March 9.
Mr Sahota was part of a “ruthless and calculated” gang of nine people who were jailed in 2003 after a series of armed robberies in south-west London.
Working at the time as a car salesman in Gerrards Cross, he was jailed for 10 years at Reading Crown Court following the robberies in 2000 and 2001.
The largest robbery took place in June 2001 at a warehouse in Stanwell, when £7.5 million worth of Nokia phones were stolen after two employees were kidnapped and held captive.
Both were taken to an unknown location and held captive overnight.
The victims were doused with petrol and threatened, before being taken to the warehouse and forced to open it up at gunpoint.
During a separate lorry hijacking incident in December 2000, a delivery driver was kidnapped and held at gunpoint in the back of a car while £900,000 of computer chips were stolen.
An inquest into the death of Mr Sahota was opened and adjourned by the coroner last week.
After he jumped from the bridge, a lifeboat carried him to an ambulance waiting at the shore but he was later pronounced dead at Darent Valley Hospital.
An Essex Police spokesman said: "Police officers including trained negotiators spent several hours talking to the man, trying to get him to come back over the barrier.
"But at 3pm, the man walked to the apex of the bridge and then plunged into the river."
The QE2 Bridge was closed for seven hours while police dealt with the incident, which saw motorists travelling on the M25 clockwise from Essex into Kent being diverted through the west bore of the tunnel.
Motorists travelling from Kent into Essex also faced lengthy delays as only the east bore tunnel was open.
Officers were first called to the QE2 Bridge to reports of a man having stopped his car on lane one of the bridge.
On arrival, they found the man standing on the wrong side of the barriers and threatening to jump.