Armed robber 'Skull Cracker' jailed for life

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.

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Judge: Public must be protected from 'Skull Cracker'

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:

You went to the same branch which you robbed in about 2001. You therefore deliberately targeted this branch and planned this raid.

You knew exactly what you were doing, having committed such crimes so many times. It is clear the public must be protected from you for a long time.

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.

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