London: From a charity worker to a postman to a millionaire’s daughter — all appeared in courts here to answer charges over the riots that have plagued parts of England this week.
While the trouble has been largely blamed on teenagers, many of those paraded before the courts led apparently respectable lives.
The youngest looter was an 11-year-old boy who arrived at court in North London accompanied by his mother clutching a mobile phone in each hand.
He was convicted of an unrelated offence only last week and is yet to begin his punishment.
One of the eldest defendants was a 35-year-old new father, who claimed he was trying to buy nappies when he was wrestled to the ground by police in a ransacked supermarket.
Many more suspects were expected in the dock over coming days in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Nottingham.
One official said there were ‘mad scenes’ as colleagues battled to deal with some of the 371 people charged by the Metropolitan Police.
Many of those in court were young men apparently caught red-handed with stolen TVs, laptops and mobile phones worth thousands of pounds.
They were joined by supposedly respectable professionals and tradesmen whose lawyers said they had been caught up in a ‘moment of madness’ as anarchy took hold of the streets.
Judges refused to grant bail in the majority of cases. They were told they must remain behind bars to prevent them joining in fresh unrest.
A millionaire’s daughter Laura Johnson, 19, was charged with stealing 5,000-pound worth of electronic goods, including a Toshiba TV, Goodmans TV, microwave and mobile phones.
Johnson, whose father is a businessman with directorships in several companies, attended St Olave’s Grammar School in Orpington, fourth best performing state school in Britain.
She was granted bail on condition that she must wear an electronic tag and does not associate with the two men allegedly found with her.
Charity worker Barry Naine, 42, who works for a St Mungo’s homeless hostel in Lewisham, appeared in court charged with burglary. He is accused of breaking into Primark in Peckham and was remanded in custody, the newspaper said.
Postman Jeffrey Ebanks, 32, and his student nephew Jamal Ebanks, 18, were allegedly caught in a car stuffed with electrical goods near a looted Croydon superstore. (IANS)