Biker with gun tried to rob ex-Newcastle striker Andy Carroll of his £22,000 watch, court told

Andy Carroll when he played for Newcastle
Andy Carroll when he played for Newcastle

West Ham striker Andy Carroll has told a jury of his terror as a gun-wielding motorbike rider tried to rob him of his £22,000 wristwatch as he drove his green Jeep Wrangler back from training.

The 6ft 4in footballer was returning home from his club's training ground when he was chased by two motorcycles, Basildon Crown Court heard.

Jack O'Brien, 22, denies attempting to rob the England-capped 28-year-old on November 2, 2016.

Carroll, who was linked with a return to Newcastle during this transfer window, said in a frantic 999 call played to a jury: "There's two motorbikes, one's behind me pulling out a gun, I don't know what to do."

As beeping is heard in the background, Carroll says to the operator: "Oh shit, I've hit loads of cars, I don't know what to do, he's just hit my car."

He eventually arrives back at the training ground and tells the operator there are security staff there.

"I've probably just hit about 10 cars on the way here," he said in the call.

Prosecutor Simon Gladwell told the court that two bikers chased Carroll after one approached him at a set of traffic lights in Romford Road, Hainault, north-east London, and demanded his watch.

Carroll told the jury: "I just pulled up at the traffic lights, my window was open, a bike pulled up next to me and said 'Nice watch'."

He said he replied "Thanks" and told the court he thought he recognised the biker.

"He had his crash helmet on with his visor up," said Carroll. "I stared at him for about 10 seconds as I thought I recognised him and thought he was going to have a conversation."

He continued: "I went to drive away and he said 'Give me your watch'."

He said to start with he "didn't know if it was a joke" but, when he did a U-turn, both bikes turned and followed him.

Bearded Carroll, who had his hair in a bun, wore a dark blue shirt, blue jeans and trainers as he gave evidence.

He used his hands to show jurors how the biker gestured for him to surrender his watch. He also showed the jury a gun gesture.

O'Brien, who wore a white shirt, pink tie and grey trousers, sat beside a female officer in the secure dock, and Carroll avoided his gaze as he gave evidence.

Mr Gladwell said Carroll was "beeping at other cars and driving on the wrong side of the road to get away".

Carroll told the court: "I was scared, I didn't know what to do.

"I called my partner's dad, I just panicked.

"He told me to ring the police."

In the 999 call, Carroll struggles to recognise road names, as the operator reassures him that police are not far away.

At one point he tells the call handler: "I'm a Premier League footballer."

Michael Edmonds, defending, said O'Brien, of Navarre Gardens, Romford, east London, was not the motorbike rider.

He said O'Brien had used the bike, jacket and helmet for crime before, but that it was not him using the motorbike on this occasion.

The trial, estimated to last three days, continues.

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Forensic scientist Luan Lunt was asked to examine a crash helmet and Ducati motorbike jacket linked to the incident.

She told the court a DNA profile found in the helmet matched O'Brien's DNA profile and that the chances of it originating from somebody else were one in a billion.

She said a DNA profile found in the jacket also matched O'Brien's, also with a one-in-a-billion chance of it being from someone else.

She said "a minor trace of DNA" was detected from at least two other individuals in the jacket, and DNA from at least four people was found in the jacket, but O'Brien was the "major contributor".

Mr Edmonds, defending, asked Miss Lunt: "DNA can't be dated, can it?"

She replied "no", adding: "I can't give you a specific time or date when this DNA was deposited."

Judge John Lodge has sent the jury home for the day, to return at 10am on Wednesday.