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6:55pm UK, Friday May 25, 2012
Millionaire’s daughter Laura Johnson has been jailed for two years for driving looters on a late-night crime spree during last summer’s riots.
University educated Johnson, 20, chauffeured the group through London on August 8 in her black Smart car.
Johnson and accomplice Christopher Edwards, 17, were both convicted of burgling a Comet store at the Greenwich Retail Park and stealing electrical goods between August 7 and 10 as rioters brought chaos to the capital.
They were also convicted of handling stolen goods following a trial in April.
Both came from ‘loving and supportive homes’
Following a hearing at Inner London Crown Court, the University of Exeter undergraduate, from Orpington, Kent, was jailed for two years for one count of burglary and two years for one of handling stolen goods, to run concurrently.
Edwards, who can be named after a ban prohibiting the publication of his name was lifted, was told he would serve 12 months at a young offenders institution.
Johnson – who is reading English and Italian at university – is a former grammar school pupil who reportedly achieved four A*s and nine As at GCSE.
She is the daughter of Robert and Lindsay Johnson who own direct marketing business Avongate Ltd.
The couple sat at the back of the court today as Martin McCartney, mitigating, described how their daughter led a “privileged life with a caring family”.
The court heard that Johnson set out early on the evening of August 8 to deliver a phone charger to her friend Emmanuel Okubote, 20, a convicted cocaine dealer and thief, known as T-Man.
Johnson was seen on CCTV driving the looters in her Smart car
When they met in Catford, south London, he jumped into the passenger seat while three others climbed into the back.
Johnson told police she was told to drive from one place to another over several hours as violence spread across the city.
When she stopped, her passengers – most of whom she claimed to have never met before – looted and robbed people, including fellow looters, at knifepoint.
Sentencing the pair, Judge Patricia Lees said: “You both came from loving and supportive homes, of neither of you could be said that your parents have not provided every advantage they could for you.
“It seems to me that like so many others, you both revealed a weaker side to your characters in taking advantage of an escalating situation because you thought you could get away with it and would not be caught.
“You most probably also got caught up with what you, through immaturity and ill-judgement, thought it was an exciting experience.”
Johnson smiled broadly as she was led to the cells.