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Snared smash and grab gang from Islington jailed for 50 years over Piccadilly raid

PUBLISHED: 15:43 24 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:10 24 November 2016

From top left, clockwise: Kyriacou, Kavanagh, Hopkins and Symes were jailed for more than 50 years

From top left, clockwise: Kyriacou, Kavanagh, Hopkins and Symes were jailed for more than 50 years

Archant

An armed gang from Islington caught attempting an “audacious” smash and grab at a Piccadilly jewellery store have today been jailed for more than 50 years.

Charlie Kavanagh, 26, Stephen Hopkins, 29, James Symes, 30 and Johnny Kyriacou, 25, were rumbled by flying squad detectives who had been tipped off about the August raid at Chronext.

The men were set upon immediately when Hopkins and Kyriacou entered the shop with hatchets and smashed a glass cabinet.

Symes and Kavanagh, who had been waiting on the mopeds outside, were tackled as the gang tried to escape but Kavanagh revved his scooter’s throttle and drove straight at three officers.

Two were knocked aside and suffered bruising but the third, a detective constable, was hit square on and dragged along the road before the bike landed on top of him.

He suffered a fractured skull with bleeds on his brain, cracked ribs, damage to his lung and a broken ankle. He had to undergo extensive surgery and has still not recovered from his injuries or returned to work.

A fourth officer was struck with an axe during the melee, while the gang also had a machete.

All four men were sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court.

– Kavanagh, of Hedingham Close, was given a life sentence for conspiracy to rob and causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He must serve thirteen-and-a-half years.

– Hopkins, of Lough Road, Holloway, was jailed for ten-and-a-half years, with an extension of four years, for conspiracy to rob and one year concurrent for unlawful wounding.

– Symes, of no fixed address, received ten-and-a-half years, with an extension of four years, for conspiracy to rob.

– Kyriacou, of Liverpool Road, was sentenced to ten-and-a-half years for conspiracy to rob.

Det Ch Insp Sarah Staff said: “They acted with total disregard for the general public who must have been terrified to see such an audacious crime being carried out in broad daylight but also for those officers who bravely tried to apprehend them.

“Our officers know the dangers they might face in their day-to-day job targeting armed robbers but should be commended for their drive and determination to apprehend those intent on breaking the law and endangering the public.”

The officer who suffered a fractured skull said it was too early to say what the long-term prognosis was, or whether there would be any psychological consequences.

He said: “I’m alarmed at the extent of my injuries as all I did was go to work one day and I ended up on the operating table a couple of days later.

“These injuries, specifically the brain injury, could affect my future career in the police. I’m also unable to drive for up to a year and this has a huge impact on my lifestyle and mobility.”

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