London

'Good Samaritans' caught Borough High Street attempted bank robber

Al-Fodday Fofanah Image copyright Met police
Image caption Al-Fodday Fofanah was on day release from prison

A criminal caught by an unusual group including a roofer, a bank manager and an ice cream seller has pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery.

Al-Fodday Fofanah, 30, of Ford Open Prison, attempted to rob a south-east London Barclays Bank in July 2013.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted armed robbery, two counts of possession of an imitation firearm and escape from custody.

He will be sentenced on 21 February at Woolwich Crown Court.

Fofanah was on day release from prison on 25 July when he pulled out an assault rifle from his bag and aimed it at a cashier while demanding money at Barclays Bank in Borough High Street, the Metropolitan Police said.

The cashier dived behind the counter, no money was stolen and Fofanah left the bank. But he was pursued by Met Police Commander Adrian Hanstock, who in a twist of fate, had been in front of him in the queue.

He was chased down Borough High Street by the officer, along with the bank's assistant manager Dean Smith and Michael Duncan - a trainee Ambulance driver.

Alleyway pursuit

While they were following him, they saw a transit van driven by John Girton, a roofer, who mounted the pavement and pulled up in front of Fofanah.

Mr Girton and his colleague Errol Gray had witnessed Fofanah leaving the bank, presumed it was a terrorist incident and decided to apprehend him.

They then knocked Fofanah down in their van and he was forced to flee down a nearby alleyway.

Mr Girton and Mr Gray got out of their vehicle and followed him through a series of alleys into St Thomas Street.

An ice cream vendor who was parked there saw Fofanah being chased by the two men, and joined the pursuit.

Special ceremony

A security officer at Guy's Hospital, Daniel Simons, who was patrolling in the area then blocked Fofanah's path, at which point he then took the rifle out of the bag again.

Another security manager, who has not been identified, grabbed the barrel and pointed it at the ground and pushed Fofanah back on to some railings.

At this point he was joined by the ice cream seller and Mr Simons, who helped him disarm Fofanah, and held him on the ground until police arrived on scene .

"The Good Samaritans were all recommended for a Commissioner's Commendation," a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

They will receive their certificates during a special ceremony on Thursday.

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