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Detective Chief Inspector Chris Raymer of Surrey Police has welcomed the life sentence handed down to "Skull Cracker" Michael Wheatley following his armed raid while on the run, saying:
Wheatley was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court after admitting raiding a Surrey branch of the Chelsea Building Society earlier this month during five days on the run from an open prison.
The judge who sentenced "Skull Cracker" Michael Wheatley said "the public must be protected from you for a long time" as he jailed him for the latest raid in a career of armed robberies.
Judge Christopher Critchlow said Wheatley's prolific record of committing violent armed robberies and other offences after being released from prison sentences made him a "special case".
Sentencing the 55-year-old at Guildford Crown Court, Judge Critchlow said:
The court heard that Wheatley has 23 previous convictions for robbery, two for attempted robbery and 18 for related firearms offences.
He was already serving 13 life sentences at Category D Standford Hill prison in Kent, when he was granted day release and failed to return on May 3.
The armed robber nicknamed the Skull Cracker has been sentenced to life with a minimum of 10 years for offences committed while on the run from an open prison.
Michael Wheatley, 55, was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court after admitting raiding a Surrey branch of the Chelsea Building Society earlier this month during five days on the run.
He robbed the building society in Sunbury-on-Thames of £18,350 on May 7.
The serial armed robber dubbed the "Skull Cracker" is awaiting his sentence after pleading guilty to three new offences.
Michael Wheatley, 55, was granted day release from serving a life sentence in Kent on May 3 but failed to return, instead raiding the Chelsea Building Society in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey.
He was arrested in Tower Hamlets, east London, and today pleaded guilty to robbery, possession of a firearm, or imitation firearm, while committing an offence and being unlawfully at large.
Lionel Blackman, defending, asked Judge Christopher Critchlow, the Recorder of Guildford, to pass sentence today once CCTV footage of the robbery is obtained.
Wheatley's alleged accomplice, Kevin Perry, 53, of West India Dock Road, east London, was also charged with assisting an offender, perverting the course of justice and handling stolen goods.
Michael Wheatley, 55, who was nicknamed 'Skull Cracker' after a string of robberies, today admitted at Guildford Crown Court three new offences including a robbery at a Surrey building society committed while he was on the run from an open prison.