Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Two convicted of student attack

Malaysian student Ashraf Rossli was attacked during last year's rioting in London
Reece Donovan, left, and John Kafunda, both 22, were convicted of pretending to be Good Samaritans to steal from an injured student

Two thugs who posed as Good Samaritans in one of the most notorious crimes of the London riots are facing jail after being convicted of robbing a defenceless Malaysian student.

Ashraf Rossli, 21, had been in Britain just a month when he was knocked to the ground and left a bloodied mess on August 8 last year.

Moments after his jaw was smashed and his bicycle stolen, John Kafunda, 22, was caught on camera lifting him up and appearing to shepherd him from trouble. But seconds later he and Reece Donovan, 22, began rifling through his rucksack as the victim's back was to them and robbed him of a portable PlayStation and 10 games worth £500.

As police hunted the offenders, the footage was posted on YouTube and broadcast on news channels causing global outrage.

The duo have been convicted unanimously by a jury at London's Wood Green Crown Court of robbery and violent disorder with Donovan also convicted of theft and burgling a Tesco store. Kafunda and Donovan will be sentenced on March 13.

As the five women and seven men of the jury returned their verdicts the pair shook their heads and muttered. And as powerfully built Kafunda, of Eastwood Road in Ilford was led from the court, he shouted: "You're sending an innocent man down, bruv, innit."

Chief Superintendent Gary Buttercase, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "I have met Mr Rossli and he is a man of humility and dignity and a tremendous credit to his country, and I am particularly pleased that we have managed to get justice for the appalling attack he suffered and the subsequent theft that has attracted derision from across the world."

Jenny Hopkins, the London head of the Crown Prosecution Service's complex casework, said: "The image of Reece Donovan rifling through the contents of this vulnerable young man's bag was one of the most shocking images from the public disorder in the summer of 2011.

"Before this, John Kafunda approached Ashraf Rossli and lifted him up to his feet. He gave every impression of simply helping Mr Rossli, having realised that he was injured. If his initial impulse was to help, it was quickly superseded by a decision to steal from the helpless and injured victim.

"These were cowardly actions by two individuals who took advantage of a young man already dazed from a previous assault (for which another man was convicted in February), which left him with his jaw broken in two places. This verdict means justice has been served and the Crown Prosecution Service, working closely with the police, will continue to robustly prosecute those involved in the disorder last year."

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