A violent gang who took hostages during an armed robbery of a Sutton pub have been jailed for more than 100 years.

Four members of the group stormed into the HG Wells Pub on Cheam Common Road shortly after 10pm on October 1 2017 wearing orange boiler suits, masks and gloves, forcing eight people inside the back office.

The victims were lined up against the wall on their knees and repeatedly threatened with a kitchen knife and firearm, which at a point was held to one of their heads, as the group demanded money from the tills.

During the incident one of the victims was stabbed in the thigh.

Shortly after 10.10pm, two of the victims were released from the office, but the remaining six remained locked inside while the suspects continued searching for cash.

The group eventually found a large safe in the hallway of an upstairs bedsit, dragging it to their getaway vehicle outside.

They unsuccessfully attempted to put it in the boot and fled, leaving the safe outside the front of the venue.

Detectives from the Met’s Flying Squad launched an investigation into the armed robbery soon after.

Throughout the course of the investigation they discovered the two individuals released from the office were actually Michela Christina Zanelli and Henrya Buahin, who were complicit in the robbery.

The pair arrived at the venue ten minutes before the robbery pretending to be customers, but were in fact look-outs for the rest of the group, remaining in phone contact with the other defendants until their arrival inside the venue.

Detectives identified Michael McCleary to be the supplier of the vehicle and Dominic Barnaby-Thomas as the organiser – both were outside the venue while the robbery took place.

Further investigation identified David Ansah as the holder of the firearm and Ibrahim Sesay as the driver and enforcer along with Rhys Kassel Gayle.

Forensic work carried out at the venue, and examination of CCTV, led officers to McCleary, Zanelli, and Barnaby and further phone examinations then led them to the remaining suspects.

The firearm and knife used in the robbery were never recovered.

Following a five-week trial at Kingston Crown Court, the group received the following sentences on Tuesday August 13:

Dominic Barnaby-Thomas, 33 (7.8.1986) of Oakfield Road, SE20 was jailed for 18 years.

S Ansah, 28 (4.6.1991) of St James Road, CR0 was jailed for 18 years.

Joseph Barnaby, 31 (12.5.1988) of Lothian Road, SW9 was jailed for 16 years.

Henrya Buahin, known as Junaid Marfo, 34 (12.9.1984) of Montpelier Road, CR8 was also convicted of theft following the same trial. He was jailed for 18 years and received 18 months for the theft offence to run concurrently.

Michela Christina Zanelli 23 (12.1.1996) of Verulam Avenue, CR8 was convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery following a re-trial in July 2019. She was jailed for nine years.

Michael McCleary, 33 (21.4.1986) of Upper Mulgrave Road, SM2, Ibrahim Sesay, 29 (19.2.1990) of Lothian Road, SW9 and Rhys Kassel Gayle, 25 (11.9.1993) of Wingate Crescent, CR0 pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit robbery at an earlier hearing.

McCleary was jailed for nine years, while Sesay and Gayle were both jailed for twelve.

Gayle also pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs in relation to a separate incident. He was jailed for a further four years to be served consecutively.