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Man pleads guilty to starting House of Reeves fire
25/02/2012 07:38:00

The man responsible for burning down The House of Reeves store on 8th August last year pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey yesterday.

Gordon Thompson, aged 33, changed his plea two days into his

trial after overwhelming evidence against him was presented in court. He also pleaded guilty to violent disorder and burglaries at House

of Fraser and Iceland during the disorder.

The first of his criminal acts that night was a burglary at Iceland on

Surrey Street. He was captured on film with the items he had stolen and that photograph appeared on the front page of the local papers. A short time later, he was again caught on CCTV entering the House

of Fraser store and reemerging five minutes later with armfuls of stolen

goods. And he was then captured on film a third time at Reeves Corner, where he ripped a shattered glass pane from its frame and entered the premises. This time, he stole a laptop computer and on leaving the store he asked another person for a lighter, which he used to set fire to a sofa inside the store. This led to a devastating fire, which destroyed a family business that had stood on that site for over one hundred and fifty years and spread to the residential property on the other side of the road, forcing residents to flee - and in one case jump - for their lives.

He will be sentenced on 11th April, hopefully for a long time.

People have rightly criticised the police for their response on 8th August (though in my view the criticisms should be levelled at the Met corporately for not having sufficient officers with the necessary equipment on duty, rather than the outnumbered and ill-equipped individuals on the ground) but they have done a great job since then bringing the guilty to justice. So far, 416 people have been arrested for their involvement in the disorder, 273 of whom have been charged and work continues.

Comment on this blog

 

Readers' Comments

On 29/02/2012 18:04:00 John wrote:
“He will be sentenced on 11th April, hopefully for a long time.”

Why do we not have a justice system where we know what punishment is coming to someone found guilty of a crime or crimes?

In other words, Mr G.Thompson was found guilty of the following:

Arson - A-B years imprisonment

Burglary - C years imprisonment

Criminal Damage - D-E years imprisonment

Violent Disorder - F years imprisonment

I know that the vast majority of the British electorate would like to have some (more) say in the punishments given to criminals. It should be our elected members of Parliament who decide the custodial & non-custodial maximum & minimum sentences for crimes, not unelected judges. The judiciary should only be responsible for interpreting & implementing the sentencing policy of the elected government. There should be no ‘hopefully’, in how long Mr G Thompson is sentenced on 11th April.

 
On 08/03/2012 06:55:00 Milan wrote:
You have raised some very valid points re sentencing.

As things stand, if people think that a sentence is too lenient and enough of them write to the Attorney General he might take action - he has the power to ask the Court of Appeal to review some sentences which he thinks are "unduly lenient", so light that a judge could not reasonably have handed it down. If the Court of Appeal agrees with the Attorney General it can increase the sentence.

 
 

 

 

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Gavin Barwell, House of Commons, SW1A 1AA, Tel  020 8660 0491      © Gavin Barwell  2017       Promoted by Ian Parker on behalf of Gavin Barwell, both at 36 Brighton Road, Purley, CR8 2LG