In the Media

London riots: pair avoid prison after time on remand

PUBLISHED March 2, 2012

Santos St John and Clive Owori given suspended sentences after admitting handling of stolen goods from electrical store

Two men who admitted handling stolen goods from a shop raided by looters during the London riots have walked free from court.

Santos St John, 30, and 24-year-old Clive Owori were both caught on camera driving away in their cars, full of stock from Seba Electronics, in West Ealing, on the third night of the disturbances that swept the capital last August.

The pair were accused of burglary, but the charge was left to lie on file after they admitted handling stolen goods. They were not sent to prison on Friday because of time served on remand.

At Wood Green crown court, St John, of Islington, was given an eight-month jail term, suspended for 18 months. He was ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work, banned from driving for 12 months and given a 6pm-3am curfew order for four months.

Owori, of Hackney, was sentenced to five months in prison, suspended for 18 months, ordered to perform 200 hours of community work, disqualified from driving for 12 months and also given a curfew.

St John has convictions for driving while disqualified, aggravated vehicle taking and drugs.

Alison Wilkes, prosecuting, said Seba Electronics lost more than ?200,000 of stock as looters went on the rampage.

"It was entirely cleaned out," she said. "This is a quite poignant case of the owner, Mr Sehgal, sitting across the road watching his store being cleared out."

St John, who the court heard is on medication for depression and anxiety following his grandmother's death, said all the goods in his car were taken from the pavement outside the store.

His barrister, Veronica Reeve, described the crime as "opportunistic" and said the items, when checked later, were broken.

The judge, James Patrick, said: "Opportunistic on the fourth day. And the items were broken by bad luck. They were well up to it."

Owori's barrister, Scott Brady, said his client gave a lift to a man who had looted and put the items in the defendant's car.

Quoting the defendant's psychotherapist, he said: "He has a propensity to give in to pressure from others which caused him to get involved in this incident."

Brady said Owori, who was of good character except for a caution which was unexplained to the court, acted in a "moment of madness".

Outside court, the store owner Bridj Sehgal, 80, said the items police have recovered would be checked and given away to pensioners and the poor. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds