Belfast Telegraph

Burglar admits to starting riot blaze

A man has admitted starting a massive fire which destroyed a family-run furniture shop during riots last year.

Gordon Thompson (33) pleaded guilty to arson and being reckless as to whether life was endangered at House Of Reeves in Croydon, south London, in August last year.

The shop had stood at the site since 1867, before it was razed to the ground by the fire. A woman became trapped inside her flat by the blaze and was forced to jump from a first-floor window.

Thompson also admitted one count of burglary for stealing a laptop from the shop.

His trial for starting the blaze had started at the Old Bailey earlier this week. But after the prosecution’s opening statement, he decided to admit certain charges.

Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow told the court yesterday that he had consulted with members of the Reeves family about accepting the guilty pleas.

Thompson had already admitted the burglary of two shops in Croydon — Iceland and House of Fraser — on the same evening.

Jurors were ordered to find him not guilty of two other charges of violent disorder and arson with intent to endanger life.

Judge Peter Thornton QC warned that he will face “a long sentence of imprisonment”.

Thompson will be sentenced on April 11.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph