Warning to mobs as Gilmour loses appeal

Demonstrators involved in group unrest were warned to expect "significant" sentences by judges yesterday as they rejected a plea by Charlie Gilmour, son of the Pink Floyd guitarist, that a 16-month jail term, imposed for a rampage at a student fees demo, was "unduly harsh".

Three Court of Appeal judges ruled that the penalty handed out in July could not be called "manifestly excessive or wrong in principle". Lord Justice Hughes said it "correctly took account of both the defendant's serious and dangerous acts in this inflammatory context and of his normal character".

The judges said the law protects the right of people to demonstrate but to do so in large numbers "carries clear responsibilities to act without disorder or violence which puts the public at risk". Gilmour, 21, a Cambridge University student, admitted violent disorder at the mass demo in London last December. He had swung from a Union flag on the Cenotaph and attacked a royal car and an Oxford Street store.

Kingston Crown Court heard in May that Gilmour turned to drink and drugs after being rejected by his biological father, the writer Heathcote Williams.