A woman who was taken hostage by a "brazen" criminal in a terrifying bank robbery says the ordeal has left her feeling panicked and vulnerable.

Sean Patrick Bradish, of Shoot Up Hill, Kilburn, grabbed the woman before threatening her with a fake pistol at NatWest, in Cricklewood Broadway, in March last year.

He ordered cashiers at the Cricklewood bank to “put money in the bag or the customer gets it” as he pointed the weapon at her back and her head.

Today, as the 46-year-old was jailed for at least 17 years for the robbery - as well as a string of others across London - the victim is still struggling to come to terms with what happened.

She said: “It will remain in my memory for the rest of my life. This was an extremely traumatic ordeal, and has affected me to this day.

“I have avoided the area of Cricklewood where this took place because I do not feel safe there."

Despite counseling sessions, she is struggling to overcome her anxiety.

The sight of a policeman still brings back clear memories of the day, and leaves her to believe dangerous gunmen could be lurking.

She added: “Whenever I see a security guard delivering a box, or a a cash in transit security van, I immediately start to feel anxious and I fear an armed robbery is about to happen, and I may have a gun pointed at me again.

“For several months after the incident I suffered problems with sleeping and I would frequently wake up two, three or even four times at night, suffering from panic attacks.

“On each occasion I felt that I was back inside the bank and the gunman was holding me with the gun pointed at me and I thought that I would be shot dead.”

The woman, a devout muslim, says she does not even shake hands with men to adhere to her culture and her religious beliefs.

She added: “For this robber to do what he did to me makes me feel overpowered, intimidated and violated.

“I still feel extremely angry that he used me as a hostage in order to try to steal money from the bank.

“I have lost my faith in human beings and I now see people as being selfish and greedy. Prior to this incident I never looked upon people like that.

“I feel let down by the bank staff as they ran away and left me, even though they were behind security screens. It feels they valued their lives and the money over me, a vulnerable customer.”

During the incident, Bradish's face was partially covered so his victim was unable to make out what he looked like.

She added: “This made me feel very uncomfortable and vulnerable. What happened will stay with me forever.

“In addition to still suffering episodes of feeling anxious my confidence as a person has also been knocked and I feel that I am no longer the same person that I was before this happened.

“I will not really start to feel safe again until I know that someone as dangerous as that gunmen, who did what he did to me, is locked up so that he cannot this to somebody else."

Bradish was on day release from prison when he carried out repeated raids on banks between April 2012 and March 2013.

He will not be considered for parole until he has served at least eight years and six months of his three life sentences.

Detective Sergeant Ben Kennedy said: “I am pleased with the sentence that has been handed down today.

“Bradish's offending escalated over a period of eleven months, with him becoming more brazen as time went on.

“Bradish showed blatant disregard for the restrictions imposed on him and had he not been caught when he did I have no doubt he would have carried on offending.”