Allan Heyl now free to speak to media

Allan Heyl, the last surviving member of the Stander gang of bank robbers who was released from Krugersdorp prison on Wednesday, is free to speak to journalists, the Department of Correctional Services said on Friday.

Departmental spokesperson Graham Abrahams said Heyl is now free to deal with the public, so long as he does not violate his parole conditions. Heyl is due to hold a press conference on Monday.

“Following discussions with his parole officer, Alan Heyl is at liberty to be dealing with matters in the public arena as long as it within the bounds of his normal parole conditions,” Abrahams said.

Standard conditions of parole include having a fixed address, reporting regularly to a parole officer and not participating in crime.

Heyl, in his early 50s, was a member of a gang that committed a string of robberies in and around Johannesburg in late 1983 and early 1984. It has been claimed the gang netted more than R500 000 from 20 banks between November 1983 and January the following year.

The gang was led by former police captain Andre Stander, who fled the country and was killed in a shoot-out with police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the United States in February 1984.

Another accomplice, Patrick Lee McCall, was killed when police stormed the gang’s hideout in Houghton that January.

Heyl had been sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1977 for robbing five Pretoria banks.
He met fellow inmates Stander and McCall at the Zonderwater prison, and the three escaped in late 1983 before setting off on their robbery spree.

When his accomplices were killed, Heyl fled the country in 1984 for the United Kingdom, where he was sentenced the following year to nine years’ imprisonment for crimes committed there. After serving his sentence, Heyl was extradited to South Africa in November 1991 to stand trial for his Stander gang offences.

He pleaded guilty to 18 counts of robbery, 17 of illegal possession of arms and ammunition, five of car theft and one of escaping from prison. Heyl was denied parole twice in the past two years.

Abrahams said earlier this week that Heyl would have to apply to speak to the media.

“The general rule is that offenders who are released on parole are not allowed to speak to media,” Abrahams said. “If they want any deviation from this rule, they have to apply to the department. Alan Heyl actually asked that he not speak to the media.”—Sapa

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