Boy, 12, among looters in court
Thursday 11 August 2011
A 12-year-old boy and a university undergraduate were among the looters who had "brought shame and disgrace" on the country, a court heard today.
They were among the latest to appear in the dock at Manchester Magistrates Court following a night of lawlessness in the city on Tuesday.
Some shamefaced defendants appeared to have got caught up in the general lawlessness and looked contrite as they stood in the dock, while others, with long records, shrugged their shoulders.
All adult defendants were remanded in custody, none given bail, even if they did not plead guilty to the charges.
All those who admitted their involvement in the looting will be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court.
District Judge Alan Berg said the maximum sentence possible at magistrates courts, six months jail, was not long enough and they must be dealt with at the higher court to consider longer sentences.
At the same time, appearing in a separate youth court, before District Judge Jonathan Feinstein, a 12-year-old defendant admitted burglary after being spotted running from a looted Sainsbury's shop carrying a £7.49 bottle of wine.
He was given an nine month referral order.
The youngster, who cannot be named because of his age, appeared ashamed, telling the court: "I did the wrong thing."
But outside court his mother, asked by reporters why her son was looting, replied: "Watch your f****** face!" and the youngster told one photographer to "F*** off!"
In the adult courts, among the defendants were Dayle Blinkhorn, 23, and John Millbanks, 26, both from Manchester, caught with a 32" LCD TV worth £4,500, looted from the Bang and Olufsen shop in the city centre.
Blinkhorn, a full-time carer for his mother and unmarried father of one, told police: "I was a stupid idiot," when he was caught with the TV.
Both he and Millbanks, an apprentice plasterer, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.
They were remanded in custody for sentencing at Manchester Crown Court at a later date.
Judge Berg told Blinkhorn and Millbanks: "People like you, who have all the benefits of this country, which others, in other countries would pray for, you bring shame and disgrace upon the country as a whole, and upon yourselves and your families.
"You do nothing constructive, all you do is destructive."
Kumail Rizvi, 19, a computer studies student at Manchester Metropolitan University, pleaded guilty to burglary after stealing two bangles and three rings worth £690 from the Links of London shop in Manchester and was sent to Crown Court for sentencing.
Rizvi, living at Hill Lane in Manchester, pleaded not guilty to a further charge of affray and was remanded in custody.
The court heard his parents did not yet know he was in court.
Lee Montaldo, 41, from Swinton, Salford; Samuel Green, 22, from Manchester; and Gareth Okoro, 30, from Shepherds Grove, in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, were all allegedly caught "red-handed" by police, the court heard, climbing out of a broken window at Sainsbury's shop.
At the time Montaldo and Green also had camera equipment on them allegedly looted from Jessops in the city.
None entered pleas and all were remanded in custody until August 16 before they will be committed to crown court.
Lee McAloney, 21, from Kilburn Avenue, Manchester, was spotted by officers in Marks & Spencer, holding a shopping basket to carry bottles of champagne he was taking from shelves.
After a "brief struggle" with officers he was arrested in possession of a glass hammer, which he said he found in the street.
McAloney at first indicated he was going to plead not guilty - despite making a confession to police saying he caught a bus into the city centre to go looting "for a laugh".
Judge Berg warned McAloney, for the benefit of other defendants, that if they were caught red-handed but wasted court time and money by pleading not guilty, as is their right, they would get longer sentences if later convicted.
McAloney then had a brief discussion with his solicitor, whispering through the glass partition in the dock, before deciding to plead guilty to burglary and going equipped.
"Thank you very much, very sensible," Judge Berg said, before berating the defendant for his conduct.
He added: "This type of behaviour is utterly intolerable, no civilised society should be expected to put up with it.
"You came into town for a laugh?"
"There is nothing remotely amusing about stealing other people's property, breaking into premises and trashing that property.
"Do you understand that?"
McAloney, looking down at the floor, nodded his head to the judge. He was also remanded in custody to be sentenced at crown court.
Karl Brown, 27, of no fixed abode, was allegedly found with cannabis and a bag containing liquor, cigars, tobacco, sweets and a £40 T-shirt from Pretty Green, the clothes shop owned by former Oasis singer Liam Gallagher.
The shop was extensively looted and lost £200,000 of stock, the court heard.
Brown did not enter a plea to burglary or handling stolen goods but admitted cannabis possession.
When Judge Berg said this "aggravated" an already serious situation, the defendant shouted from the dock: "You what? I don't f****** smoke weed."
He was jailed for a week for the cannabis and remanded in custody for the burglary matter.
Jordan Kelly, 20, from Kerswell Walk, Newton Heath, Manchester, was caught walking into the city centre yesterday carrying a home-made balaclava and a bin bag.
With a gang of others wearing the "standard attire" of hooded tops he told police he was going to the city to pick up watches, earrings and trainers left littering the streets from the previous night's riots.
He told police he had been "watching" the riots the night before and had "found" the balaclava in the street.
Sentencing him to six months in a Young Offenders Institute after a guilty plea to going equipped for burglary, Judge Berg told the defendant: "This is intolerable behaviour.
"Decent members of the public and society are sick and tired of people like you taking advantage of a situation that occurred for the last three days in Manchester."
Greater Manchester Police said it was now in the process of returning Manchester and Salford to normality.
Assistant chief constable Garry Shewan said: "We are working incredibly hard with our communities and businesses to reassure them we will maintain that high visibility presence and also encourage people that it is safe to come into our towns.
"Of course we understand there is nervousness among some people but we want people to go about their daily business as usual.
"It is therefore very important that we address some of the rumours and reports and let people know what is really going on.
"Firstly, we have not cancelled any football matches or events such as the Moss Side Carnival and we want people to come out and enjoy these events.
"Also, I want to stress to our communities that we are not aware of any far-right groups coordinating the disorder.
"This was criminality, pure and simple. It had no racial element to it. It was just mindless violence so I want to let people know that there is no evidence to say any political groups organised or played a part in the disorder."
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