Video: ‘Skull cracker’ jailed for life again after capture in Mile End

'Skull cracker' Michael Wheatley

'Skull cracker' Michael Wheatley - Credit: Archant

A dangerous criminal dubbed the “Skull cracker” has been jailed for life after he escaped from prison last month and was caught near Mile End station.

Michael Wheatley, 55, formerly of West India Dock Road in Limehouse, pleaded guilty to a robbery at a building society in Sunbury-on-Thames on May 7 after he absconded from an open Kent prison.

At the hearing at Guildford Crown Court, Wheatley, who gained his gruesome nickname for pistol whipping his victims, including a 73-year-old woman, also admitted to possession of a firearm and of being unlawfully at large.

This is his 14th life sentence for a string of robberies and violent acts.

Wheatley was arrested on the day of the latest offence by Met and Kent police officers in Southern Grove near Mile End station after being on the run for five days.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Raymer, of Surrey Police, said: “Wheatley is a dangerous individual and I welcome the lengthy sentence imposed at today’s hearing which reflects the seriousness of his crimes.

“This was clearly an extremely distressing incident for the members of staff in the building society who were threatened by Wheatley and I hope the sentence helps them to move forward.”