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Millionaire's riot girl faces jail

A millionaire's daughter has been told to prepare for prison after being convicted of driving looters on a late-night crime spree at the height of last summer's riots.

University educated Laura Johnson, 20, chauffeured the group through London on August 8 last year in her black Smart car.

As they cruised around the capital, her passengers leapt from the car clad in hooded tops, bandanas and balaclavas to loot.

The University of Exeter undergraduate, from Orpington, south east London, was convicted of one count of burglary and one of handling stolen goods. She was cleared of two other burglary charges and a charge of handling stolen goods by the Inner London Crown Court jury.

Johnson showed no reaction as the verdicts were delivered by a jury that deliberated for almost 11 hours.

Judge Patricia Lees bailed her and a 17-year-old accomplice, who cannot be named for legal reasons. She said: "You have both been convicted of serious offences. These are aggravated by the fact that they were conducted in the timeframe of serious civil unrest in London last summer. This spree of burglaries and handling stolen goods, which you both were willing participants in, will attract in my mind the likelihood of an immediate custodial sentence."

The duo, who both wear electronic tags and are subject to curfews, will be sentenced on May 3.

Johnson and the 17-year-old were both convicted of burgling a Comet store at the Greenwich Retail Park and stealing electrical goods between August 7 and 10 as rioters brought chaos to the capital.

They were cleared of burgling a Currys shop at Stonelake Retail Park in south east London in which a television was stolen between the same dates but convicted of an alternative charge of handling stolen goods. The teenager had previously admitted burglary by stealing alcohol and cigarettes from a BP garage in Charlton - Johnson was cleared of this burglary and also acquitted of handling these items.

Johnson is the daughter of Robert and Lindsay Johnson who own direct marketing business Avongate Ltd. The couple were in court daily to support their daughter. Mr Johnson said his daughter was considering launching an appeal.


From Belfast Telegraph