An armed mugger has been jailed for 10 years after attempting to rob two Arsenal footballers of luxury watches worth £200,000.
Harrow Crown Court heard that Ashley Smith, 30, and his accomplice Jordan Northover, 26, targeted Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac and his German teammate Mesut Ozil.
Smith, of Archway, north London, had previously pleaded guilty to the attempted robbery just feet from Kolasinac’s home in Hampstead, north west London, on July 25.
He appeared in court on Friday by video-link and masked his face with a blue scarf.
His mother sobbed in the public gallery as he was sentenced to a decade behind bars. Northover will be sentenced at a later date.
CCTC footage showed Bosnian international Kolasinac fighting off Northover as he prodded him with a needle.
Ozil sped away with his wife in the car before taking refuge at a nearby Turkish restaurant.
Jailing him Judge Ian Bourne QC, said: “An offence of attempted robbery took place on 25 July 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 25 July 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.
“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.”