Islington robbery gang jailed thanks to ‘supergran’
11:41 27 May 2011
Five Islington men have been jailed for a total of 27 years for a bungled smash and grab raid which ended at the hands of a hero grandmother.
Patrick O’Brien, 18, Terry Inglis, 22, Edward Smith, 28, Jason Hartles, 25, and Michael Sharpe, 40, came a cropper when “supergran” Ann Timson, saw them steal more than £100,000 worth of watches and jewellery from Michael Jones Jewellers in Northampton on February 7 this year.
Wearing a bright red coat, the 71-year-old retired market trader ran past other shoppers and swung her handbag, hitting one of three men sitting on a motorbike before turning her attention to the others smashing the shop window.
The whole incident was captured on video by a man making a film in Northampton town centre, and pictures of Mrs Timson single-handedly setting about the sledge-hammer wielding thieves were posted on YouTube and shown all over the world.
The gang all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle and were sentenced this week at Northampton Crown Court, where Judge Charles Wide QC hailed Mrs Timson a hero.
The judge said: “The only reason why they did not get away with even more was the extraordinary intervention by Mrs Timson.
“The actions of Mrs Timson received world wide publicity - not least on You Tube. She took on those young men who were armed with sledgehammers. No praise is too high.”
In a statement issued at the time, Mrs Timson said: “I started whacking the lads over the head with my shopping bag.
“Passers by didn’t come to my assistance to begin with. They all seemed mesmerised.
“A lot were standing there filming or taking photos and I wonder whether more people didn’t intervene because they thought the raid was being mocked up.
“In the cold light of day, I know I put myself in danger. But I probably would do the same again.”
Smith, of Staveley Close, Holloway, and Sharpe, of Rowstock Gardens, Holloway, were each jailed for six years eight months.
O’Brien, of Arlington Square, Islington, was jailed for five years.
Ingles, of Arran Walk, Canonbury, and Hartles, of Peabody Square, Islington, got four years each.
The prosecution accepted not guilty pleas to a charge of conspiracy to commit robbery, but Ingles admitted taking a Vespa scooter without authority and driving while disqualified, and O’Brien admitted being carried on the scooter without authority.