UK & World News

  • 8 May 2014, 1:19

'Skull Cracker' Arrest Caught On Video

A video has emerged of the moment escaped prisoner Michael Wheatley was arrested in east London.

The 55-year-old convicted armed robber, known as "The Skull Cracker," was captured by police in the Tower Hamlets area.

He and one other man, aged 53, are currently being held in police custody on suspicion of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

A statement issued by Kent Police said Wheatley was also arrested on suspicion of being unlawfully at large.

Wheatley, who earned his nickname for pistol-whipping victims, was being sought following his failure to return to prison after his temporary release on Saturday. He was being held at HMP Standford Hill - an open prison on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent.

It was the third time he had gone on the run from prison. 

The arrests come after an armed robbery on Chelsea Building Society in Sunbury-on-Thames on Wednesday morning.

Wheatley was first jailed in the 1980s for nine years for a post office raid but escaped in 1988 when he was given permission to go to hospital and did not return.

He then carried out nine armed robberies and was jailed again in 1989.

Three years later, authorities released him to go to the optician and he went on the run again, carrying out eight robberies for which he was jailed for seven years.

He was released on parole in 2001 and within weeks was staging a series of raids on banks.

Prosecutors said he returned to a life of crime after a relationship with a woman he met while in custody ran into trouble, and she spent his money and ran up debts.

During his trial at the Old Bailey it emerged that, when asked his occupation by a custody officer, he had replied: "Armed robber."

Wheatley was ordered to serve 13 life sentences in 2002, with a minimum term of eight years.

There had been a confirmed sighting of him in Twickenham on Monday.

Advertisement