Andy Carroll robbery: Man jailed for targeting West Ham striker

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Media captionFootage of the chase was captured on a dashcam and bus CCTV cameras

A man has been jailed for trying to rob footballer Andy Carroll of his £22,000 wristwatch as the striker drove home from West Ham's training ground.

Jack O'Brien, 22, claimed he was not the motorbike rider who targeted Mr Carroll as he waited at traffic lights in north-east London, on 2 November.

Mr Carroll told Basildon Crown Court he believed O'Brien had a gun.

O'Brien, of Navarre Gardens, Romford, was given six years, with another five years three months for other crimes.

The sentences are to run consecutively.

He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to several other robberies, carried out in October and November, last year.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Jack O'Brien was found by police hiding beneath a mattress

O'Brien was found by police hiding beneath a mattress in a property in Dagenham 10 days after the attempt.

'Feared for life'

The footballer told jurors he was scared when the motorcycle rider pulled up beside him, said "nice watch" then demanded he gave it to him.

Mr Carroll did a U-turn, but was forced to drive on the wrong side of the road as he was pursued back to West Ham's training ground where there were security staff.

In a 999 call played in court he was heard telling responders: "There's two motorbikes, one's behind me pulling out a gun, I don't know what to do."

Mr Carroll also said he had "probably just hit about 10 cars" during his getaway.

In a victim impact statement Mr Carroll said he had "feared for his life" and now travels to and from training with security guards.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The West Ham striker told the court he now travels to and from training with security guards

Police seized a motorcycle helmet, Ducati jacket and a Suzuki motorbike which they believed were used by O'Brien during the attempted robbery.

DNA matching the 22-year-old's was found on the helmet and jacket, but O'Brien said that while he had used the equipment for other robberies, somebody else was wearing them when Mr Carroll was targeted.

No firearm was found by police. The second motorbike rider has not been located.

Judge John Lodge suggested O'Brien had targeted Mr Carroll, telling the court it "doesn't take an awful lot of work" to find out when the striker would leave training and by what route.

Det Sgt Brett Hagen said CCTV footage of the pursuit "shows the persistent and reckless lengths this man went to in order to try to steal a high-value watch".

"I would like to thank the victim who showed great courage and calmness throughout this terrifying robbery attempt," he continued.

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