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Man jailed for 10 years after threatening supermarket staff with handgun and knife

News   •   Oct 12, 2018 11:04 BST

[Jailed]: William O'Reilly

A man who threatened supermarket staff with a handgun and a Stanley knife has been jailed for 10 years and four months, today, Thursday, 11 October at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

On Wednesday, 8 August at approximately 22:55, William O’Reilly, 44 (16.06.74) of no fixed abode, entered the Sainsbury’s Local sore on Suttons Lane in Hornchurch, Havering. He approached the counter and asked to buy cigarettes and matches.

On discovering he didn’t have enough money, O’Reilly was refused service. He walked away from the till but then turned around and produced a handgun, pointing it at a member of staff, demanding that the till be opened. He then climbed on top of the counter and forced all three staff members into a corner behind the till area, shouting and swearing at them.

He then proceeded to produce a Stanley knife and threatened to slash staff in the neck if the money wasn’t handed over. As he was taking money from the till, one member of staff took the brave decision to tackle him to the ground. Then - assisted by the other members of staff - he was detained until police arrived.

O’Reilly was on life licence for commercial robbery at the time of the offence, having been given an indeterminate sentence in August 2008. He was subject to a recall for having failed to comply with the terms of the license.

On 7 September at Snaresbrook Crown Court, O’Reilly pleaded guilty plea to robbery, possession of an imitation firearm whilst committing a Schedule 1 offence and threatening a person with an offensive weapon in a public place.

Officer in the case, DC Shona Wilkinson from the Met’s Flying Squad, said:

“I would like to pay tribute to the victims, who showed immense bravery in tackling O’Reilly, during what must have been a terrifying ordeal. O’Reilly is a career criminal and I am pleased that he now faces a substantial period in prison.”

The judge commended the victims of the robbery for their actions in apprehending O’Reilly.