Man 'admitted' starting furniture shop fire during riots


A man accused of starting a "catastrophic" fire at a 144-year-old furniture shop boasted about causing the blaze, a court heard today.

House of Reeves in Croydon, south London, was destroyed by a massive fire during the August riots last year.

Today a jury at the Old Bailey heard that Gordon Thompson, 33, told local resident Jonathan Davis "it was me", as he walked away from the burning shop.

Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow told the court: "As the defendant was jogging towards him, to the utter amazement of Jonathan Davis the defendant boasted, 'It's me, I did that, I burned Reeves Corner'."

Thompson is on trial for violent disorder, burglary of Reeves, arson with intent to endanger life and arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, all on August 8.

He denies all the charges, but has admitted burglary of two shops in Croydon - Iceland and House of Fraser - on the same evening.

It is alleged that he stole a laptop from Reeves, before asking around for a lighter and setting fire to a sofa on display in the window.

The blaze was so fierce that buildings on the opposite side of the road caught fire and tram lines in the road burned.