Andy Carroll robbery: Man jailed for targeting West Ham striker

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Image copyright PA Image caption The West Ham striker told the court he hit about 10 cars in his effort to get away

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 rider who targeted the 28-year-old as he waited at traffic lights in north-east London, on 2 November 2016.

Mr Carroll told Basildon Crown Court he believed O'Brien had a gun when he stopped beside him on a motorbike.

O'Brien, of Navarre Gardens, Romford, was sentenced to six years.

He was jailed for another five years and three months, to run concurrently, after admitting other robberies between October and November last year, in which cash and jewellery were taken.

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.

Wrong side of road

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

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

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.

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