Saturday 21 October 2017

Millionaire's daughter was 'too scared' to stop looters

Ruth Lumley in London

A millionaire's daughter who drove looters around while they robbed people at knifepoint during last year's riots told a court yesterday she had been too scared to stop them.

Laura Johnson (20) had gone to pick up her friend Emmanuel Okubote (20), known as T-Man, from Curry's, in Bromley Road, Catford, south-east London, when he and three other men wearing hooded tops, bandanas and balaclavas, got into the back of her car and ordered her to drive.

The student told a jury at Inner London Crown Court that she had struck up a close friendship with Mr Okubote during the summer after being introduced to him by a friend she had met while she was an outpatient in a mental health unit.

Ms Johnson told the court she was raped by two men on July 14 last year, but had not told anyone at first, causing her mental health to become "worse than ever before".

She said her mental health had been very unstable leading up to the incident on the evening of August 8 and she was taking anti-depressants and medication for anxiety at the time of the rioting.

On the day of the incident, Ms Johnson claims she was made to drive around the Catford, Hither Green and Charlton areas of London while the men got in and out of the car to loot and rob people. Martin McCarthy, defending, asked Ms Johnson if she had asked the men to get out of her car and if she had any desire to be involved in the looting.

She said: "The tone of it, the way they were dressed, the shock of it all, it pushed me to not resist. I was scared."

Ms Johnson, from Orpington, south east London, denies three counts of burglary and three alternative counts of handling stolen goods.

The trial continues tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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