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Millionaire's daughter convicted of driving looters during London riots

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Laura Johnson

Laura Johnson

Laura Johnson

A MILLIONAIRE'S daughter was today convicted of driving looters on a late-night crime spree at the height of last summer's riots.

Laura Johnson, 20, chauffeured the group through London on August 8 last year.

As they cruised around the capital, her passengers leapt from the car clad in hooded tops, bandanas and balaclavas before stashing the vehicle with stolen goods.

The University of Exeter undergraduate, from Orpington, south east London, was convicted today of one count of burglary but cleared of a second count of burglary by a jury at Inner London Crown Court.

The jury was continuing to deliberate over a third charge.

Judge Patricia Lees told the panel she would accept a majority verdict on the outstanding charge.

The jury has heard that Johnson set out early in the evening to deliver a phone charger to her friend, Emmanuel Okubote, 20, a convicted crack cocaine dealer and thief, otherwise known as T-Man.

When she arrived at their meeting point in Catford, south London, he jumped into the passenger seat while others climbed into the back of the car, prosecutors said.

Johnson told detectives she was instructed to drive from one place to another late at night and into the early hours of the morning.

When she stopped, her passengers - most of whom she claimed never to have met before - would embark on a looting mission.

The court heard that Johnson, who previously tried to kill herself, began a close friendship with Okubote during the summer after being introduced to him by a friend she met while a mental health unit outpatient.

She told the court she was ordered to act as his driver on August 8 and was too frightened to flee.

Asked why she had not refused to drive that night, she told police: "I didn't get the impression they were the sort of people you say no to... I suppose there's a fear of them, there's a general knowledge that these are just not the kind of people who you don't go along with, especially when they are sat in your car and have an idea of your family or registration plate."