Ashley Smith, 30, (pictured) pleaded guilty to trying to steal from Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment at Harrow Crown Court today
A moped mugger who tried to rob two Arsenal stars of their £200,000 watches armed with knives, a screwdriver and knitting needle has been jailed for 10 years.
Ashley Smith, 30, pleaded guilty to the ‘quick and violent’ attempted robbery in which he and accomplice, Jordan Northover, 26, tried to steal the player’s watches in Hampstead, northwest London on July 25.
CCTV footage shows Kolasinac, known as ‘The Tank’, jumping out of the passenger seat of Mesut Ozil’s £165,000 4×4 to fight off Jordan Northover, 26, who prods him with a sharp knitting needle, while Smith sits on a moped.
The robbers ambushed the players when Ozil was picking up one of the luxury timepieces which had both been delivered to his teammate’s address.
Northover jabbed Kolasinac with the needle in front of Ozil’s newlywed wife who watched in horror from the car.
Playmaker Ozil, who earns £350,000 per-week, then sped away down the wrong side of a mansion-lined road in Childs Hill on July 25 and took refuge at a Turkish restaurant.
Smith and Northover admitted attempting to rob the two Arsenal footballers at Harrow Crown Court.
Smith appeared in court today via video-link and masked his face with a blue scarf.
He remained expressionless but his mother sobbed in the public gallery as he was jailed 10 years.
Sead Kolasinac (muzzed by police) turns to face the moped gang trying to rob him and Mesut Ozil for their £200,000 watches and didn’t flinch as he tried to beat them up despite the knife
The masked men appeared ready to stab the Arsenal star but police today praised the footballer and said the robbers ‘didn’t bargain for him fighting back’
Smith, 30 – who was described by judge Ian Bourne QC as a prolific ‘career criminal’ who was well known to police – was out on licence for a 42-month sentence for burglary in 2017 when he tried to carry out the street robbery on the Arsenal stars.
He had been released in connection with a burglary offence in January.
Jailing him the judge said: ‘An offence of attempted robbery took place on July 25 this year when him and another man attempted to rob the victims of watches said to be values at £200,000.
‘I have also been assisted by watching film from CCTV which have shown some of the events that took place in this residential area of London, indeed within feet of the address where Kolasinac was living on July 25 this year.
‘The two defendants had planned this crime, I’m satisfied, although it’s not possible to say whether they were targeting these two individuals.
‘It’s fair to say they planned this attack with great care, armed themselves with pointed weapons capable of causing significant injury one said to be a knitting needle one said to be a screwdriver.
‘They had stolen a moped and they were disguised in dark clothing and helmets so they could not be recognised.
‘It is clear they had been looking for candidates to rob and they can be seen driving up and down the road in the period before this attempt took place.
Jordan Northover, of West Yorkshire, (pictured) admitted attempted robbery and will be sentenced at a date to be fixed
‘It is said and it is obvious that both of these defendants are prolific career criminals.
‘They recognised an opportunity to rob both victims and Mr Ozil who was in the vehicle with his newly wed wife and they moved in armed and dangerous.
‘They positioned the moped closely next to the vehicle and between them produced these weapons which they threatened Mr Kolasinac with and it’s clear were thrust in the victim’s direction and made contact with him.
‘It is clear the two of them hadn’t counted on Mr Kolasinac fighting back and he behaved incredibly bravely with knives pointed in his direction at a time when he knew he was in possession of extremely valuable items which men might use whatever they needed to obtain the watches.
‘The images show the way he moved round the car and attempted to engage with the robbers and he then was able to get in the car which was able to move away driven by the other victim.
‘That wasn’t the end of it because they got back on the moped and pursued the car along the high road and indeed attempted to stop the vehicle by throwing stones at the car and causing a significant amount of damage.
‘Fortunately an alert member of the public saw the moped being parked near to the park, near to Borehamwoood where they retreated and she contacted police and as a result police were able to trace CCTV footage of the two men getting off the moped and going into the public house.’
Sead Kolasinac can be seen taking on one of the attackers who wears a helmet and was armed with a knife as he tried to rob him and Ozil – but left empty handed
Mesut Ozil (dyed blonde hair) was pictured talking to officers outside Turkish restaurant Likya on Golders Green Road in north London after the attack this summer
Mesut Ozil (far right), his wife Amine Gulse (far left) with Sead Kolasinac and his bride Bella Kolasinac on their wedding day in June in Baden, Germany
The judge added: ‘This is a high culpability offence, using weapons to threaten and indeed to cause violence, thrusting the weapon towards Mr Kolasinac who must have been terrified at the events taking place immediately outside his house.’
Prosecutor Michael Bisgrove told the court today Smith has 30 convictions dating back to 2008 including burglary, robbery, ABH and theft.
He said: ‘The attempt as you will see from CCTV was quick and violent.
‘The defendants were riding a stolen moped, both of them were armed and as they dismounted both they withdrew weapons.
‘They were both heavily disguised such that neither could be recognised.
‘They’d been out that day for some time and had been looking for opportunities to rob.
‘Both are prolific offenders and they saw this opportunity shortly before 5pm and took it. They hadn’t counted on one of the victims fighting back.’
The prosecutor added: ‘Mr Kolasinac was having none of it. He fought back and the defendants moved away.
‘Mr Kolasinac then managed to get into the car and drove off. It didn’t end there because the defendants pursued the car, they threw items such as stones at it. He crossed through lanes of traffic to escape and he drove to the French restaurant still pursued.
‘This must have been a terrifying incident which could have been a lot worse.’
Fellow Gunners star Sead Kolasinac was seen warding off the attackers with his bare hands after leaping from the luxurious Mercedes
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks as best man to Ozil at his wedding to Amine Gulse by the Bosphorus in Istanbul last month
The court heard the moped had been stolen earlier from an address in Hackney
Smith and Northover were well-known to police and were recognised in the footage.
Susan Meek, defending, argued that while the weapons were used simply to threaten ‘Ozil didn’t even flinch.’
‘While I’m not suggesting they weren’t weapons or intended to be threatening to the victims in this case, it is clear they weren’t knives,’ the barrister said.
‘They were there to threaten with them rather than to use.
‘When one sees Northover tapping Ozil on the arm no doubt frightening, there was no lunging taking place and no stabbing motion taking place.
‘This defendant has been afflicted by a drug addiction and a difficult childhood.
‘He is sorry and he calls it a scummy thing to do because when he wants drugs that’s what he ends up doing.’
Smith’s mother wept in the public gallery next to his sister as the defence barrister said his family would support him through the sentence.’
Ozil is known for his love of flash timepieces and last year splashed out on a £30,000 special-edition ‘Invincible’ Rolex watch made in collaboration with Thierry Henry.
He also owns £6,600 special edition titanium Cyrus Kuros watch.
Both players were uninjured after the robbery bid but they had to miss several matches at the start of the Premier League following concerns over their security.
Northover, of HMP Wealstun, West Yorkshire, admitted attempted robbery and will be sentenced at a date to be fixed.
Smith, of Cardinals Way, Islington, admitted the same charge. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.