How a 'terrifying' Hampstead spree of robberies was brought to an end
- Credit: Met Police/Archant
Over three months in 2019, a criminal gang targeted homes in Hampstead, Finchley, Golders Green and St John's Wood, armed with knives and machetes, and terrifying families.
Eight of the men responsible now face jail time of more than 100 years between them.
The shocking details of the string of offences they committed were detailed during trials in late 2020, and at sentencing hearings on March 29 and 30 this year.
In one attack a man was chased from his car - parked outside of the Royal Free Hospital - threatened with a machete by two of the gang, Martin Delaney and Kiasuka-Kiawanda, and forced to hand over his Rolex watch.
On another occasion five masked men, one with a "large knife", broke into the home of an 80-year-old woman in Finchley, and pushed her to the ground before demanding she tell them where her safe was.
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A raid on a family home in Golders Green saw a group of men terrify a mother and her two young children before making off with the keys to the family's Audi.
During an attack in St John's Wood, five members of the gang followed a Ferrari into a car park before demanding the car's driver hand over his watch and car keys – threatening him with a knife and a crowbar.
There was a focus on Hampstead in particular, with homes in Hampstead Hill Gardens, Lyndhurst Road and Winnington Road targeted. In July 2019, one victim told this newspaper he didn't feel safe in his own home.
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Susan West, who runs the Hampstead Town community safer neighbourhood panel, told this newspaper: "It was absolutely a very dangerous and worrying period of time when these robberies were going on.
"It was a really horrible spate, with one incident following quickly after another. They clearly were a very dangerous gang who visited much distress on our community.
"I think everyone is very relieved that justice has been served and this gang sentenced."
She added: "I wouldn't be surprised if this story might well be adapted on TV."
The Met Police's Flying Squad was able to shut the gang down on July 2019, after interrupting some of its members during a robbery at a house in Barnet. With the help of the police helicopter, officers followed them to another attempted offence in Thurlow Road, Hampstead.
This saw members of the gang try to rob an unmarked police car. They were followed to the flat in Gospel Oak's Hemingway Road, which they used as a base, and arrested.
The Met's Det Sgt Gary Taylor described the crimes as "shocking and abhorrent".
"The impact these heinous crimes have had on the victims cannot be understated," he said.
“These defendants wrongly thought they wouldn’t be caught. However, Flying Squad officers were able to close the net on these robbers and bring them into custody after a proactive surveillance operation."
He paid tribute to the numerous victims who helped convict the gang members.
The eight convicted and jailed were Jordan Northover, 28, Patrick Delaney, 30 and of Clarence Way, Martin Delaney, 29 and of Hawley Road, West Hampstead duo Cheyenne Cato, 27, and Kiaron Jones-Hewitt, 27, Kilburn's Andy Kiasuka-Kiakanda, 26, Ryan Leurs, 19 and of Maitland Park Villas, and Kentish Town's Steven Barton, 20.
Northover, who was also given a six year prison sentence for his part in attempting to rob Arsenal footballers Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac in July 2019, was thought of as having of the "leading role" in the conspiracy by police and prosecutors.
He is understood to have used an address in Hendon to keep stolen cars and bikes as part of the conspiracy, and manage the use of stolen licence plates.
In total, the men - except for Martin Delaney and Jones-Hewitt - were convicted of a conspiracy including 18 separate robberies and burglaries.
Louise Pinder, from the CPS, said: “These men carried out a series of violent burglaries and robberies using crowbars, machetes and knives to threaten and attack their victims, with many of these right on the doorsteps of their victims’ homes. Their actions were terrifying.
"Many of the offences were planned beforehand and the gang went out armed and ready to attack several homes each night, only stopping – usually – when they had been successful in stealing items of high value."
She added; "In one incident a victim who was taking the bins out was frogmarched back into his home which was then burgled. In another, a mother and her two children were targeted inside their home."
The men will serve sentences ranging from eight to 18 years imprisonment.