A man has been jailed for six years for trying to rob West Ham United footballer Andy Carroll.
Jack O’Brien, 23, of Ivyhouse Road, Dagenham, was convicted at Basildon Crown Court of attempted robbery after a high speed chase on 2 November 2016.
O’Brien, who denied attempted robbery, was also convicted of burglary offences and sentenced to a further five years and three months.
Police were called at around 12:45hrs to reports of two men on motorcycles attempting to rob Carroll of his £22,000 wristwatch on Romford Road in Chigwell, north-east London, as the striker drove home from West Ham’s training ground.
The men threatened Carroll whilst he was stationary at a red traffic light.
Carroll had initially thought the rider, who was wearing a crash helmet with a visor up, was boxer Kevin Mitchell pulling up for a chat, but as he went to drive off, the man said “give me your watch”.
He intimated through gestures that he was in possession of a firearm before attempting to block the car as the driver sought to get away.
The victim, former England, Newcastle United and Liverpool star Carroll was able to drive off when the lights turned green and he called police for assistance.
In his 999 call, Carroll is heard telling the operator: “Oh s***, I’ve hit loads of cars, I don’t know what to do, he’s just hit my car.”
The suspects continued to chase him along Whalebone Lane North towards the A12, but they abandoned their pursuit and drove off empty-handed.
Detectives were able to obtain footage from cameras on board local buses, as well as from a dashcam which clearly showed the attempted robbery and chase.
One of the suspects was linked to other offences due to his distinctive crash helmet and jacket, and was identified as O’Brien.
When arrested O’Brien was found to be in possession of the motorbike, leathers and helmet that he had been wearing at the time of the attempted robbery.
He was subsequently identified by the victim during an identity parade.
Detective Sergeant Brett Hagen, who was the Senior Investigating Officer in the case, said: “This was a welcome but entirely expected guilty verdict due to the compelling and overwhelming evidence against the defendant, Jack O’Brien.
“The moving footage of the vehicle chase 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.”
A second suspect, who rode another motorcycle during the pursuit, has not been located.
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