'Skull Cracker' robber captured in armed raid

The convicted robber known as the Skull Cracker has been arrested after an armed raid in Surrey this morning. Police say Michael Wheatley - who fled Standford Hill open prison on Saturday - has been detained.

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'Skull Cracker' victim: I didn't think I would survive

A victim of violent armed robber Michael Wheatley, dubbed the "Skull Cracker", has spoken about the trauma she suffered during one of his raids, as police hunt the on-the-run prisoner.

Wheatley raided 13 building societies and banks over 10 months in 2001 and 2002 while on parole from a 27-year sentence for other robberies. Credit: Metropolitan Police

"You don't imagine standing next to someone who seems quite innocuous who will then suddenly without any warning grab you and put a gun to your head," victim Clare Townsend told BBC Radio 4. "I did actually think I wouldn't survive."

"I don't like being in banks or places where I know there's a lot of money," she added.

Wheatley, 55, raided 13 building societies and banks 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 - including a 73-year-old woman - during the raids.

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