In the Media

Good Samaritans rioters 'brought shame on Britain'

PUBLISHED March 16, 2012

Film of John Kafunda and Reece Donovan robbing 21-year-old Ashraf Rossli moments after his jaw was shattered by another rioter, Beau Isagba, was watched by millions of people on YouTube.

Kafunda is captured pretending to help the accountancy student to his feet as blood poured from his mouth in Barking, east London last August.

His friend Donovan then rifled through his rucksack stealing a portable Sony Playstation and games worth £500.

Both denied it was them in the clip, but mobile phone evidence put the pair in the area around the time Mr Rossli was mugged on the Queen's Road flyover on August 8. who Mr Rossli had to have two metal plates fitted to his broken jaw.

The pair, both 22 and from Essex, were also convicted of violent disorder and Donovan was further convicted of theft and burgling a Tesco's.

Kafunda, who has previous convictions for robbery, was jailed for four years and three months while Donovan, who has convictions for theft, affray and assaulting a police officer, was locked up for five years.

Sentencing them at Wood Green Crown Court Judge James Patrick said: "What you did was caught on camera and became an iconic image of the lawlessness which saw shops and businesses looted, the emergency services significantly stretched and members of the public too frightened to leave their homes.

"On August 8 th you were part of a crowd described as threatening and menacing. It was appalling to see this group also included young children.

"It was a member of that group, Beau Isagba, who first set upon Mr Rossli. He had his jaw broken and bicycle stolen.

"Clearly that was not you. But what you then did was recorded and when broadcast throughout the world brought shock to those who watched it and shame to this country.

"Mr Rossli was particularly vulnerable. He was alone and gravely injured and you selected him accordingly."

The footage, filmed by a member of the public on their phone, was viewed by millions after it was uploaded to Youtube the day after Mr Rossli's ordeal and the public donated thousands to him following outcry over the clip.

Mr Rossli, from Kuala Lumpur and who had only been in the country a month, underwent surgery on his broken jaw and had to have metal pins and plates inserted in his face which will remain for life.

Donovan and Kafunda were arrested in the following days after two independent witnesses, who have been granted anonymity, came forward to identify them.

Christopher Hehir, prosecuting, said Mr Rossli, was set upon by gangs of hoodies "intent on crime" as he cycled with his friend Sheikh Azhar.

As he entered a second group of yobs he turned to see who was putting his hand in his pocket to steal his mobile and was punched in the face by Isagba who stole his bike after he fell to the ground.

As he got to his feet Donovan took the lead in rummaging through his bag and was then joined by Kafunda who pushes the student back when he turns to see what is happening.

A dazed Mr Rossli, whose friend escaped the attack, is then seen stumbling up the road where he was spotted by members of the public and taken to hospital.

In an impact statement read to the court Mr Rossli, who is still in London doing an accountancy course, said he knew what was happening to him but was powerless to stop it.

He said: "As I sat on the pavement with blood pouring from my mouth I remember being approached by a male who asked if I was okay.

"I remember being pulled to my feet then I felt someone again tugging at my rucksack. I was not in a position to defend myself as I was still suffering from the effects of being hit.

"I knew they were stealing from me but I could do nothing. Once they had taken what they wanted they left."

the court heard Donovan and Kafunda had stayed out of trouble for five years until the robbery during last year's summer riots.

Kafunda, who grew up in care, was on his way to becoming a qualified youth worker. While Donovan, himself the victim of a stabbing in 2010 in which he nearly died, had studied multimedia before working as a runner for hip hop magazine The Wire. He had also studied at film school for a year.

Gideon Cammerman, defending Donovan, said the attack on him, for which three people were jailed at the Old Bailey, took him eight months to recover during which time he became a heavy cannabis user and dropped out of education.

The pair, who had made outbursts from the dock during their trial and still deny it was them, remained emotionless as they learned of their fate.

Beau Isagba, 18, was jailed for seven years earlier this month after being convicted of punching Mr Rossli, breaking his jaw, and stealing his bike before Kafunda and Donovan robbed him.