Electronic tag for millionaire's daughter 'who stole TVs in riot'


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The Independent Online

A millionaire's daughter accused of stealing televisions and mobile phones during the London riots was told yesterday she could not resume her university studies until after her trial next month.

Laura Johnson, 19, an undergraduate studying English and Italian at the University of Exeter, was granted conditional bail during a short hearing at Camberwell Green magistrates' court in south London.

As well as extending restrictions on her entering London other than to attend court or to meet her lawyers, an electronic tag will continue to prevent her from leaving her parents' house between 7pm and 6am prior to an appearance at Inner London Crown Court on 5 October.

The family home in Orpington, Kent, owned by Ms Johnson's company-director father, Robert, and her mother, Lindsay, has a tennis court in its grounds.

Ms Johnson, who is yet to enter a plea, was joined by her parents in court yesterday. She faces five charges of burglary, relating to the looting of a branch of Comet in Charlton, south-east London. Her case centres on £5,000 worth of electronic equipment including TVs and mobile phones found in a car she is alleged to have been driving.

Meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that the sentences of two men each given four years in prison for using Facebook to incite riots will be among the first of those related to the August unrest to go to appeal.

Ten cases are expected to be listed next week, and yesterday the lawyers for Jordan Blackshaw, 20, and 22-year-old Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, both from Cheshire, said theirs would be reviewed by the Lord Chief Justice.

Both men pleaded guilty to incitement. However, the case of Blackshaw was held up by lawyers as evidence that the sentences were disproportionately harsh, given that his Facebook event "Smash Down in Northwich Town" did not result in anybody turning up. Sutcliffe-Keenan's online provocation, a group called "The Warrington Riots", also resulted in no crime taking place.

Ministry of Justice figures indicate that, on average, cases going to crown court involving rioters in August have resulted in sentences 18 per cent longer than others – while more cases have also seen defendants sent to crown court and remanded in custody

More than 1,500 people face charges following days of rioting and looting across London last month.