BY TOBY PORTER
Two men who pleaded guilty to a series of knifepoint robberies over a nine-month period have been jailed.
Sean Maher (right), 26, of no fixed abode and Jay Jay Manley (left), 26, of Austin Road, Battersea, pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday, August 15 to having carried out numerous knifepoint robberies throughout South London.
Maher also pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods, dangerous driving – after he mounted a pavement to get around a bin lorry and its staff in Tooting – and escape from custody. Maher was sentenced to 10 years and Manley to five years’ imprisonment. Both were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Monday.
In 2011, Maher, originally from Battersea, was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for a previous conviction. In October last year, six years into his sentence, Maher escaped from his prison cell at a category D prison and was on the run from police.
On May 3, 2018, a 29-year-old man was walking his dog along Franklins Row, Chelsea, when he was approached by two suspects. The first threatened him with a knife, which was prodded into the victim’s stomach. The second suspect took the man’s watch before they both made off from the scene.
A week later a lone woman, aged 45, had parked her car in Sandilands Road, Fulham, when she was robbed of her watch. After she handed it over, they got into a stolen Nissan Qashqai and drove off.
On May 14 in Britten Street, Chelsea two men were approached by three men. The victims were threatened with knives and punched. Their property stolen included expensive watches and jewellery. The suspects made off in the same stolen car.
On May 16, Maher and Manley followed a 26-year-old man to Anderson Street before threatening him with a knife. Once again they stole the victim’s watch.
On June 21 at around 3.30pm, a lone 47-year-old woman was walking in Manresa Road, Chelsea, when a stolen Land Rover on false plates screeched up beside her. Again, two men got out and robbed the woman of her expensive watch.
On Friday, June 29 officers from the Westminster Crime Squad were about to enter an address in Seely Road, Tooting, when Maher jumped into a car and made off at speed along a pavement before rejoining the road.
Police followed until Maher came up against a refuse truck blocking the road. He mounted the pavement and crashed through bins, narrowly missing refuse collectors, all to get around the blocked road.
On Monday, July 2 officers forced entry to a flat in Macey House, Battersea. There they found Maher hiding in a cupboard. The flat was searched after Maher’s arrest and evidence linking him to some of the robberies were found.
Maher was taken to a central London police station where he was interviewed by detectives. He was charged on the same day with escaping from prison, three counts of robbery, possession of an offensive weapon, dangerous driving, handling stolen goods, two counts of driving with no insurance, two counts of not being in accordance with a licence and possession of cannabis.
He was taken to Westminster Magistrates’ Court and remanded into prison custody until August 15. Since first being charged he has been further charged with another three robberies involving knives.
Enquiries into the robberies continued and on Tuesday, July 17, the second suspect, Manley, was arrested and charged with three of the robberies.
He was also charged with three offences of possession of offensive weapons. He was remanded into custody and appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on July 18 where he was remanded into custody until August 15.
While in custody, he was further charged with two other robberies. Detective Constable Tony Holley, the investigating officer from Westminster Crime Squad, said: “I am pleased that justice has prevailed and these men have now finally received punishments for their abhorrent acts.
“I hope that with this sentence the victims can now look at trying to move on with their lives, which have been vastly affected by this incident.
“The enormity of the impact these men have caused cannot be underrated and I am pleased they are behind bars and no longer pose a threat to the public.”