14 sentenced over summer rioting in Nottingham


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The Independent Online

Twelve men and two youths have been sentenced for their part in riots during which a police station was firebombed in the disorder last summer.

Three police officers and three PCSOs were inside during the attack when nine lighted petrol bombs were thrown at the station in Nottingham.

Sentencing the 14, Judge Michael Stoke QC said: "There can be no doubt about it: this was a mob violence of an extreme nature. In short, a calculated defiance of the criminal law and a deliberate attack on the police.

"The numbers involved, far more numerous than those apprehended, must have caused real fear to decent citizens who witnesses these events or whose property sustained damage during the course of them."

Ten of the men were sentenced for riot while four others, including the two youths who the judge allowed to be named by the media, were sentenced for violent disorder.

The six-week trial at Nottingham Crown Court heard witnesses describe the scene as a "war zone", seeing petrol bombs thrown at the police station during an "organised and planned attack".

Petrol bombs were thrown at other passing vehicles, including a bus. A number of vehicles, some parked and others which were stationary at traffic lights, were also damaged by the group.

The group planned to meet up with armed weapons, sticks and bottles filled with petrol, with the intent of setting the police station alight.

Judge Stokes, the Recorder of Nottingham, said: "The use of such unstable weapons in a riot situation, aimed as they were principally at a police station and those inside it, created a substantial risk to life and limb."

Curtis Dejean, 19; Lance Francis, 25; Reiss Wilson, 21; Harrison McCalla, 21; Antany Edwards, 24; Ashton Alexander, 19; Ricardo Cotteral, 23; Callum Powell, 20; Shaudrie Robinson, 22; Gregory Coleman, Lucas Stapleton, both 18; and Bobby Muers, 18; along with 16-year-olds Kaiden Howell and Marcus Wynter, were all sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court.

Francis, who shook his head and looked tearful as his sentence was read out, received the longest term after being convicted by a jury of riot, arson with intent to endanger life and attempting to pervert the course of justice earlier this week.

Sentencing him, Judge Stokes said: "The attitude you have shown during this trial and your appalling attitude to other people, particularly young women and the police, when placed alongside your considerable record for serious offending requires that you should be out of circulation for many years."

The judge said Wilson "played a leading role" in the events and acted as a recruiter to get people to join the disorder. He had admitted riot, reckless arson and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The 21-year-old was "closely linked" to Dejean who was detained in a young offenders institute admitting possessing explosives with intent, riot and arson being reckless as to the endangerment of life. Many of the firebombs used during the attack were prepared at Dejean's home.

The judge commended the witnesses who gave evidence in court or provided written statements.

One witness was Kaye Challinor whose police statement was read out in court during the trial. She described one of the rioters as launching a firebomb straight at the bus she was sitting on.

The judge said: "She was absolutely petrified by what she saw and experienced. Fortunately the petrol bomb bounced off the window and smashed harmlessly on the road. Had it broken the bus window the consequences would have been horrific."

Francis, of no fixed address, was jailed for 14 years after the jury found him guilty of riot, arson with intent to endanger life and perverting the course of justice.

Dejean, of Welstead Avenue, Aspley, was detained for 10 years after admitting riot, arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered and possession of explosives. Reiss Wilson, of Beckhampton Road, Bestwood, who also admitted riot along with perverting the course of justice and arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered, was jailed for 12 years.

Powell, of Jarrow Gardens, Top Valley, was detained for five-and-a-half years after being found guilty of riot by the jury, while Gregory Coleman, 20, was detained for five years on the same charge after being found guilty by the jury.

Robinson, 22, of Scotholme Avenue, Hyson Green, was sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of riot.

Edwards, of Noel Street, Hyson Green, was sentenced to three years and nine months after admitting riot, and Alexander, of Radford Road, New Basford, was detained for four years after admitting the same charge.

McCalla, of Carkswark Gardens, Top Valley, was jailed for four-and-a-half years after admitting riot. Stapleton, of Dulwich Road, Radford, was detained for two years and nine months on the same charge.

Cotteral, Bobby Muers, Kaiden Howell and Marcus Wynter all admitted violent disorder.

Cotteral, of Basford Road, Basford, was jailed for three years; Muers, of Caunton Avenue, St Ann's, was detained for 15 months in youth custody; Wynter was detained for six months; and Howell four months.

Two other youths, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will be sentenced at a later date for their role in the disorder.

Commenting after the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Rob Griffin, who led the investigation, said: "The sentences handed out to these individuals reflect the severity of what they did last August.

"They joined together, armed with weapons, sticks and petrol bombs, with the common intention of targeting Canning Circus police station.

"They spared no thought for the officers inside or the potentially fatal consequences that could have occurred if the fire had taken hold."