Heir to Vestey fortune 'planned anti-City protest'

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The Independent Online

An heir to one of Britain's wealthiest families helped mastermind the anti-capitalist march in the City of London last year which led to a riot causing £2m damage, a court heard yesterday.

Mark Brown, 35, the grandson of the Dewhurst butcher shops mogul Sir Derek Vestey, allegedly co-ordinated the Carnival Against Capitalism on June 18 via hundreds of e-mails.

Messages were found on a computer in unemployed Brown's £200,000 flat in Notting Hill, west London, discussing detailed plans and possible names for the demonstration, it was claimed.

City of London Magistrates Court heard the former public schoolboy also sent e-mails to his correspondents asking them not to refer to his name along with the word "organiser".

Brown, who has an estimated £40,000-a-year income from a shared £2.7m trust fund, is alleged to have started planning for the demonstration 10 months before it took place.

The father-of-one, who was educated at Radley College in Oxfordshire, denies a charge of failing to notify police of a public procession. He faces a maximum fine of £1,000.

Large numbers of leaflets spoofing the London Evening Standard newspaper, carrying the title Evading Standards and advertising the march, were found at Brown's home, the court heard.

Officers investigating the J18 riot also discovered a 1999 diary belonging to Brown with an entry for June 19 and 20 last year which read: "In hiding, I should think."

Prosecutors, who are not claiming that Brown was involved in the violence which took place during the demo, alleged that he acted as a central organiser for the march.

Richard Milne, prosecuting, said: "It's clear that from September 1998 he was organising, contacting and speaking electronically to a number of other people and a number of people were speaking back to him by e-mail." Mr Milne added that the scores of e-mails received by Brown "make quite plain that he was a central figure as an organiser."

Brown was spotted on the day of the march wearing a false moustache and sideburns while driving a Peugeot 405 car bought a few days earlier, it was claimed.

The car was parked to block a road in the City and Brown, who appeared in court allegedly disappeared into the crowd.

Documents found in Brown's home showed he was aware of the possibility of civil and criminal court cases being brought against those involved in the march.

The e-mails included "extraordinary detail" of how the event should be organised, names for the demo such as Bash the Cash, and Loot the City, it was claimed

The detail was such that only the organiser could have been aware of it months before the events took place, said Mr Milne. The case was adjourned until Friday.