UK & World News
London Riots: Jail For Restaurant Looters
Sixteen men and boys have been jailed for up to nine years for their part in one of the worst nights of violence during last summer's riots in London.
They were sentenced a year to the day since they joined a 50-strong mob at a shopping centre in Queensway and progressed throughout the evening towards Notting Hill, carrying out what prosecutors described as a catalogue of acts of violent disorder, burglary, robbery and assault.
Among their targets was the exclusive Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury where between 30 and 40 customers were ordered to the floor by masked rioters, who were carrying knives and other weapons, before being robbed of watches, jewellery, cash and mobile phones.
Witnesses said that women were targeted by the looters and one had her wedding ring ripped from her finger as she lay on the floor.
A 15-year-old refugee from Eritrea, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was one of three people convicted for the robbery at The Ledbury.
He was identified by his blood which was found on a chef's apron after he smashed a bottle when staff refused to give him money.
Her Honour Judge Usha Karu sentenced the boy to three years in a young offenders institute despite his age and good behaviour in custody to date.
Ahmed Al Jaaf, 19, was sentenced to nine years in a young offenders institute for his part in The Ledbury robbery, another count of robbery and conspiracy to commit violent disorder.
A six-year sentence was handed down to Anas Ibrahim, 20, who stayed outside the restaurant but encouraged others to enter.
He was also convicted of conspiracy to commit violent disorder.
Tens of thousands of pounds worth of goods were stolen or destroyed during the mob's rampage across shops and restaurants in the area.
CCTV captured a pizza delivery driver being pulled from his moped before he was beaten and his moped set alight.
Judge Karu said rioters were like "a pack of hounds" when they attacked off-licence owner Mohammad Haroon while he tried to pull the shutters on his shop.
He is still too traumatised to return to work.
Kalem Hinds, 19, who was jailed for nine years, beat Mr Haroon about the head with a champagne bottle while his stock was smashed or stolen.
Most of the mob were members of the Ladbroke Blood gang but they set aside differences with members of rival gangs to take advantage of civil unrest by co-ordinating robberies by mobile phone.
Extra police offers were on duty at Inner London Crown Court during the hearing, which split the rioters into two groups to allow space for their family and friends to be in court.
Judge Karu remarked that August 8, 2011 was one of the worst nights of last summer's riots and that "Londoners looked on in horror" as images were broadcast in the national and international media.
She said it was in stark contrast to London today, which is celebrating its hosting of the Olympic Games.