8 Aug 2012

Rioting thugs jailed for hour of terror

A gang, whose “journey of destruction” during last summer’s riots included a rampage through a Michelin-starred restaurant, receive the harshest sentences yet handed out to rioters.

The attack on the Ledbury restaurant was only one incident during a campaign of violence carried out by the men, members of rival gangs who had called a truce on their rivalry for the night. The men had organised the attack on their BlackBerrys from the steps of a bail hostel.

Judge Usha Karu reminded the court that the gang had for more than an hour terrorised the streets of Notting Hill, culminating in an assault on the two Michelin-starred Ledbury restaurant.

She told the men: “This was the third night of the disorder, and it is a year today that you were involved in the mayhem and mob criminality which caused disturbances to law abiding public.

“Today, in stark contrast to those scenes of arson, looting and damage in August last year, London is hosting the Olympics and demonstrating excellence can be achieved in sports and an inspiration to all. However, those involved in the events of August 2011 were intent on doing the opposite.”

Home Affairs Correspondent Simon Israel describes the moment the gang burst in on West London diners

The gang moved on to the luxury restaurant the Ledbury. They were armed with bottles, sticks and knives and as they burst in the diners were told get down on the floor.
As the 30-40 diners cowered under tables, watches and jewellery were torn from their wrists. A wedding ring was ripped from a woman’s finger. When police finally arrived, they were ill-equipped and outnumbered and so forced to retreat.
CCTV footage shows kitchen staff coming to the rescue, armed with broomsticks and risking serious injury to protect their loyal, affluent clientele and force the marauding mob out of the restaurant. Meanwhile, some of the diners had taken shelter in the restaurant’s wine cellar.
No one from the Ledbury wanted to talk. No one took up the police invitation to come to court for today’s sentencing.

Judge Karu also said evidence showed traditional street rivalries had been ditched on that particular occasion: “The evidence was the two gangs had put aside their differences in order to get together to perpetruate serious disorder which happened that night”, she said.

“The object was to meet on the streets to cause chaos and damage and to loot.”

Many of the gang’s actions, described by the judge as a “journey of destruction” were caught on local council CCTV as well as on cameras put up by individual shops.

Gyasi Skinner, 20 at the time of the offence, was jailed for nine years and two months while Kalem Hinds, who was 19, was jailed for nine years for a violent raid on an off-licence in Notting Hill exactly a year ago.

Hinds repeatedly beat shopkeeper Mohammed over the head with a champagne bottle as a mob looted his SuperSave store. They were joined by Rico Myers, then 16, and Karim Lamquindaz, then 17, as they rampaged through Notting Hill, raiding the Bumpkin restaurant and trying to set fire to a number 70 bus.

Read more: The Tottenham residents burned out by the riots


In total, the rioters were jailed for 73 years and five months.

Myers received four years in a young offenders’ institution and Lamquindaz was sentenced to a three year rehabilitation order. Tyler Brewer and Liam Hodge, 21, who helped conceal the stolen goods were detained for four years and one month and four years and four months respectively.

Jazz Dedier, 18, another participant in the riot, who was spotted passing a pair of shears to Skinner was sentenced to 18 months in a youth offenders institution.

Convicted robber Karl Jensen, who was briefly detained by TV presenter Dan Snow, after grabbing boxes of trainers from a shoe shop, was jailed for three years.

He had been out of jail for just 10 days after serving a five year term for a series of robberies when he took part in the riots. But having spent nearly a year in custody, he realised he will be due for early release in Febuary next year.

On leaving the dock, Jensen said: “Thank you your honour”, before shouting, “Six months left baby, oh s***”.

Describing the raid on Mohammed’s business, Judge Karu said: “The group were like a pack of hounds in the shop, with both alcohol stolen and the till emptied.

‘The experience can’t be underestimated.”