In the Media

Rioter gets five years in longest sentence yet relating to August disorder

PUBLISHED December 9, 2011

Junior Saunders pleaded guilty to violent disorder, criminal damage to a police car and burglary in Hackney on 8 August

A man has been sentenced to five years' imprisonment for his part in the August riots ? the longest sentence so far handed down to anyone convicted in relation to the summer disorder.

Junior Saunders, 36, of Hackney, east London, pleaded guilty to six charges including violent disorder, criminal damage to a police car, and burglary, all in Hackney.

One of the burglaries Saunders was sentenced for took place at the London Eye Opticians. Margaret Asare, the owner, told the Guardian earlier this week: "You build up your business, you know you have your stock, your money, your whole livelihood invested, everything ... And then you just have to walk away and let someone just smash it up."

She added: "In terms of business we lost trade. But personally it seriously affects me. I try not to think about it but you get upset when you hear about it. You get upset when you read about it. You get upset when you talk about it, you get upset when you have to figure out what went wrong."

In a statement the Metropolitan police said 20,000 pairs of glasses were stolen from the shop during the attack.

Police said Saunders had been seen on CCTV in Mare Street, Hackney, on Monday 8 August using a D-shaped cycle lock to cause "significant damage" to two police cars. He then threw stepladders and "other items" at police, and broke into the back of a lorry, where he stayed for 15 minutes passing planks of wood to other rioters.

The wood was used to smash the windows of buses, which were occupied at the time, and attack property. It was also thrown at police.

Saunders also attacked a branch of Tesco with a shovel and handed out looted property to other rioters.

According to the police the CCTV pictures showed him wearing a hooded top with a "distinctive" T-shirt underneath, beach shorts, "distinctive" trainers, and sunglasses.

He was charged on 5 October after evidence was found at his address and convicted at Wood Green crown court on Wednesday 7 December.

Borough commander Steve Bending of Hackney police said Saunders's conviction was an example of "the painstaking work that is still going on to bring to justice those responsible for disorder in Hackney 8 August".

He added: "I am pleased that in sentencing him to five years' imprisonment, the court has recognised the role he played at numerous scenes of the disorder and his appalling behaviour throughout."

Before Saunders's conviction the longest sentences handed out in relation to the riots were believed to be to Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe, who were both jailed for four years for creating Facebook riot "event" pages. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds