12 deny charges over rioting sparked by joyriders' deaths

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The Independent Online
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TWELVE people arrested after a police operation to identify the culprits behind a riot that followed the deaths of two young joyriders appeared before Newcastle Crown Court yesterday.

The riot on the Meadow Well Estate, in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, began in September last year after false rumours that police had rammed a stolen car, killing occupants Dale Robson, 17, and Colin Atkins, 21.

Paul Batty, for the prosecution, said that three nights after the tragedy an angry mob of 400 people, including children as young as 14, tried to lure police on to the estate to attack them.

When police in riot gear refused to confront them head on, the rioters turned their fury on shops and homes.

In a four-hour orgy of violence, nine shops, a youth club, health centre and electricity sub-station were petrol bombed and looted causing damage estimated at pounds 1.5m, Mr Batty said.

Craig Denley, 15, John Addison, 16, Thomas Crass, 15, Nicholas Thompson, 18, Claire Thompson, 17, Lisa Thompson, 15, Carla Hunter, 17, John Smith, 22, Sean Fairly, 21, Barry Jamieson, 18, Lee Redpath, 19, and John Fuge, 23, all from North Shields, deny charges of violent disorder.

Mr Crass, Mr Smith and Mr Fairly also deny a charge of burglary.

The court was told that the spree of arson and looting began with an element of race hatred aimed against Asian shopkeepers.

A stolen van was used to ram the steel shutters of shops and families could only watch helplessly as their businesses and homes were looted and burned.

The trial continues today.

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