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Man who committed violent £2m burglary and pointed gun at police jailed

News   •   Jan 24, 2018 19:30 GMT

Image: Robert Lewis

A man who pointed an automatic firearm towards police officers after he stole £2m worth of jewellery from a home in St John's Wood has been jailed for 21 years.

Robert Lewis, 41, of no fixed abode was sentenced for robbery, burglary, firearm offences and dangerous driving.

The court heard how Lewis had forced entry to a residential property from a side window on Saturday, 10 December, 2016 at 07:39hrs.

He confronted a 37-year-old woman with garden shears and demanded jewellery and cash. Lewis warned the victim not to mess with him and repeatedly told her to give him everything.

He then made his way to drawers containing high value jewellery and making the victim remove items she was wearing before taking her phone and making off from the property.

On 29, December 2016 officers were engaged in enquiries to arrest Robert Lewis for a high value aggravated burglary. Officers were in the area of High Street Harlesden. At around 8.40am Police saw Lewis sat in a grey Mercedes C160 coupe.

He was in the driver's seat and the car was parked outside a restaurant in Harlesden High Street.

A pursuit then ensued and when stopped a uniformed officer tried to speak to Lewis but he mounted the pavement and drove off at speed.

At 8:49am the car was lost to the officers. A description of the car and that it had failed to stop was circulated on the police radio.

Two plain clothes officers Brent heard the radio and at 8:51am they were in slow moving traffic on Acton Lane when the grey Mercedes drove past them at high speed. The car was on the wrong side of the road. It was a bright and clear day though it was very cold and the roads were still rimed with ice.

Driving at speed, Lewis was then involved in a collision with a black Tesla motor vehicle which was coming off of the A40. He hit the car directly in the side and activated its airbag systems. The police car tried to block the driver's exit from the Lewis's car by driving up to it and blocking the door. Both officers got out of their car at the same time Lewis exited his. In his hand Lewis held what officers considered to be a black machine gun. Lewis vaulted over the bonnet of the police car and started to run off.

As he climbed across the police car Lewis left a bloody trail on the front of the car. Police started to give chase both men ran a few steps when Lewis turned on the Sergeant and pointed the machine gun directly at him. The Sergeant stopped and looked down and away from Lewis, he thought he was likely to die right there and "expected to hear gunshots." As one of the officers curled up to the floor Lewis brought the gun around to bear towards one of the officers. The officer also looked away and Lewis made off across the A40 on foot.

Officers from Trident's North Proactive team took up the manhunt for Lewis who had gone to ground. Extensive enquiries led to the execution of a search warrant and the eventual arrest of Lewis on 13 January 2017. He was arrested at the address of a previously unknown associate.

On 24 January Lewis was sentenced to 18 years for robbery extended for three years due its seriousness. He was also sentenced to eight years for burglary and five years for possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause a police Sergeant to be put in fear of violence. Both of these sentences will run concurrently. He was also disqualified from driving for three years.

Lewis will not be eligible for release until he has served at least 12 years of his sentence.

Following sentence, the judge took the time to praise the professionalism of both officers who confronted Lewis in the face of what they believed was their certain death, their quick thinking and action at the scene of the firearms offence, their commitment to protect the public and the measured and fair way in which they gave their evidence. She said "We (the public are) in their debt."