Rioting millionaire's daughter 'knew what she was doing'

 

A millionaire's daughter accused of taking part in last summer's riots was not acting under duress, a court was told today.

Laura Johnson, 20, drove looters around and was seen putting a box into the front seat of a car she was driving, Inner London Crown Court was told.

Johnson, of Orpington, south east London, denies three counts of burglary and three alternative counts of handling stolen goods relating to the riots last August.

Sandy Canavan, prosecuting, said: "The prosecution say that any talk of duress is no more than a red herring in this case.

"This is a young lady who exercised extraordinarily bad judgment that night. She knew what she was doing, she did it for whatever reason seemed good to her at the time, but not under duress."

Ms Canavan said that just after midnight in the early morning of Tuesday August 9, a man called Raymond Johnson was driving from Chingford, in east London, to Orpington when he came off the A2 near a large retail park near the O2 leisure park in Greenwich.

He noticed that people were running backwards and forwards from various stores carrying items in their hands.

He pulled over to see what was going on and his attention was drawn to a black car driven by Laura Johnson, who was no relation of his.

He saw a man run from a Currys with a box with Goodmans written on it, which he threw into a bush nearby, before running back to Currys.

"The white female driver of the car, we say that's Ms Johnson, went over, picked up the Goodmans box and put it in the front seat of her car."

Mr Johnson called the police. "He remembers seeing three black men running backwards and forwards to the car, putting things in it," Ms Canavan said.

The people then got into the car and Johnson drove off, followed by Mr Johnson, Ms Canavan said.

At one point he took a picture on his phone, and Johnson did not appear to be particularly distressed in any way.

Finally, Mr Johnson went on to Orpington, but on his way back to Chingford later he drove past the retail park again, and saw the car, which had been stopped by police.

He went over and spoke to police, saying what he had seen, and arrests were made.

Johnson started to rev the engine, with a view to driving off, but police smashed the windscreen to stop her.

Ms Canavan said that Alexander Elliott-Joahill, 18, has pleaded guilty to burglaries and handling stolen goods.

A 17-year-old boy who is appearing with Johnson, who cannot be named, admitted one count of burglary today. He denies two further counts of burglary or handling stolen goods.

Johnson told police that three boys jumped into her car and told her where to go and what to do, Ms Canavan said.

She said she was a bit concerned, and had not expected to be driving around people she did not know, the prosecutor added.

But Johnson said in her defence case statement that there was talk of stabbing people, talk of a gun, and one man had been playing footage on a mobile phone of someone being tortured.

Ms Canavan said: "The prosecution say, if what you are saying is true, the time to have said it is when you were safely with the police."

And she added: "Getting out and helping yourself to the Goodmans box discarded by one of the other individuals is hardly the action of someone who is being forced to drive around."

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

PA

Suggested Topics
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments