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Home   Sheerness   News   Article

Pictured: Moment Skull Cracker Michael Wheatley arrested in east London after four days on run from HMP Standford Hill on Isle of Sheppey

08 May 2014
by KentOnline reporter

This is the dramatic moment an armed robber known as the Skull Cracker was arrested after going on the run from a Kent prison.

Fugitive Michael Wheatley was held by officers in Mile End, east London, yesterday - four days after fleeing HMP Standford Hill on the Isle of Sheppey.

He is still being questioned today about an armed raid on a building society in Surrey yesterday.

The moment fugitive Michael Wheatley - known as the Skull Cracker - was arrested in east London. Picture SWNS.com

The moment fugitive Michael Wheatley - known as the Skull Cracker - was arrested in east London. Picture: SWNS.com

Wheatley, 55, was arrested along with another man on suspicion of conspiracy to commit armed robbery at the Chelsea Building Society in Sunbury-on-Thames.

A cordon was thrown around the building society after the raid at 10.20am yesterday as police investigated links to Wheatley.

The armed raider is said to have threatened a member of staff with a handgun before demanding money from a safe and escaping with cash.

The worker was left shaken but unhurt, but it is not yet known if the gun was real.

Armed robber Michael Wheatley is known as the Skull Cracker

Armed robber Michael Wheatley is known as the Skull Cracker

Kent Police said yesterday afternoon: "At 2pm two men, aged 55 and 53, were arrested in the Tower Hamlets area and are now in police custody.

"The 55 year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of being unlawfully at large."

DCI Ann Lisseman said: ‘We are no longer looking for Michael Wheatley.

"We would like to thank our colleagues at Metropolitan Police Service, Surrey Police, and the public for their assistance with our enquiries."

Police outside the Chelsea Building Society in Sunbury after a raid. Picture SWNS.comTony Kershaw

Police outside the Chelsea Building Society in Sunbury after a raid. Picture: SWNS.com/Tony Kershaw

A huge manhunt was launched when Wheatley failed to return to HMP Standford Hill after being let out on day release on Saturday.

It is believed a train timetable was found in Wheatley's cell after he fled, with the Sittingbourne to London route highlighted.

Wheatley is serving 13 life sentences following a string of brutal raids on banks and building societies.

Skull Cracker Michael Wheatley during an armed robbery

Skull Cracker Michael Wheatley during an armed robbery

He carried out 13 raids over 10 months in 2001 and 2002 while on parole from a 27-year sentence for other robberies.

He earned his nickname after pistol-whipping victims during the raids. He usually targeted lone, elderly women.


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