An armed mugger who tried to rob two Arsenal stars of their £200,000 watches has been jailed for 10 years.
Ashley Smith, 30, ambushed the players with the help of accomplice Jordan Northover, 26, in Hampstead, northwest London on July 25.
The pair were armed with a screwdriver, knives and a knitting needle, but they didn’t count on the bravery of burly Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac.
The footballer, known as ‘The Tank’, jumped out of the passenger seat of Mesut Ozil’s 4X4 and threw punches at the assailants.
He barely even flinched despite having a sharp knitting needle and knives pointed at him.
Ozil’s newlywed wife watched in terror from inside the £165,000 car, which then sped away down the wrong side of a mansion-lined road before the targets took refuge at a Turkish restaurant.
The pair followed them on the moped and threw stones at the car in an attempt to stop the vehicle and caused a significant amount of damage.
The robbers had ambushed the two players as Ozil was picking up a luxury watch which had been delivered to a teammate’s home.
They both admitted attempting to rob the two players at Harrow Crown Court.
Appearing before judge Ian Bourne via video link today with his face masked with a blue scarf, Smith was handed a 10 year jail sentence.
He remained expressionless but his mother sobbed in the public galley.
The judge described Smith, of Islington, north London, as a ‘career criminal’ who was well known to police.
He was out on licence for a 42 month burglary sentence in 2017 when he tried to carry out the street robbery.
Jailing him, the judge said: ‘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.
‘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 newlywed wife and they moved in armed and dangerous.
‘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 defender was seen moving around the car to confront the robbers before getting back inside as Ozil sped off.
A member of the public spotted the moped left near a park close to Borehamwood and contacted the police, who were able to trace CCTV footage showing the two men walk into a pub.
Judge Bourne 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.’
The court heard how Smith has 30 convictions dating back to 2008 including burglary, robbery, ABH and theft.
Michael Bisgrove, prosecuting, said: ‘The attempt as you will see from the CCTV was quick and violent.
‘Both are prolific offenders and they saw this opportunity shortly before 5pm and took it.
‘They hadn’t counted in one of the victims fighting back.’
Both players escaped without any injuries but the robbery meant they had to miss several matches at the start of the Premier League due to security concerns.
Northover, who is being held at HMP Wealstun, West Yorkshire, will be sentenced for attempted armed robbery at a later date.
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