JACK O’BRIEN is starting a long prison sentence following his conviction at the start of this month of attempted robbery – an incident which ended with him endangering the public as he tried to make a getaway from police.
It was 12.45pm on 2nd November last year when police received reports that two men on motorcycles were attempting to rob the driver of a green Jeep Wrangler which was waiting at a red traffic light on Romford Road, Chigwell. One of the men spoke to the driver through his car window – telling the driver to give him the watch he was wearing and hinting that he had a gun.
The lights turned green and the driver managed to move off. The two motorcyclists followed him along Whalebone Lane, heading towards the A12, before abandoning the chase. The driver alerted police immediately.
The police appealed for CCTV footage and were able to piece together what had happened from cameras on nearby buses and dashcams. Police identified O’Brien from the footage. He was arrested ten days after the incident and found to be in possession of the clothing he had been seen wearing during the attempted robbery. He was later positively identified during an identity parade.
O’Brien, 23, of Ivyhouse Rod, Dagenham, pleaded guilty to a number of burglaries of homes in Essex and Hertfordshire, as well as to handling stolen goods – a motorbike stolen from Maybrick Road Hornchurch. Four further counts of burglary in Essex were ordered to lie on the file. O’Brien did not reveal the identity of his accomplice. He appeared at Basildon Crown Court, where he was sentenced to six years for attempted robbery and five years and three months for burglary offences, the sentences to run consecutively.
Detective Sergeant Brett Hagen, 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.”