Harringay man first in London to be sentenced for inciting riots

15:26 08 May 2012

Terry Balson set up a Facebook page inciting others to riot

Terry Balson set up a Facebook page inciting others to riot

Archant

A “thrill-seeker” who used a Facebook page to encourage disorder during the riots has been locked up for two years in the first case of its kind in London.

Terry Balson, 20, set up an open page on the popular social networking site called “For the riot (f**k the feds)”, which could have inspired violence in Wood Green and Barnet.

He was named and shamed by social media users, who reported him to police.

Balson, who lived at the time in Effingham Road, Harringay, and later in Landsdowne Road, Tottenham, created the page from a computer at Wood Green Central Library in High Road on August 9 last year, when the capital was in the grip of widespread violence and looting.

Comments he posted on the site included “Barnet High Road is the spot apparently, who is on it?” and “Come to Wood Green at 6pm”.

Jobless Balson - the first person to be sentenced for inciting people to riot in London - was arrested after members of the public reported the site to police, Wood Green Crown Court heard.

His event page attracted 20 members, and the same night a police station in Colindale, Barnet, and a mobile police office in a Barnet housing estate were attacked, alongside stores at Brent Cross Shopping Centre.

Balson admitted incitement to riot at an earlier hearing, and sentencing him to two years in a young offenders’ institution, Judge Simon Carr said on Tuesday: “Your involvement was very specific on what would have been the third day of the riots, when everyone would have been aware of the destruction and loss of life that was occurring.”

He added: “You did this, it would seem, because you see thrill-seeking as part of your reason for being.

“You take risks for the sake of taking risks and although I accept you are a man of good character, you have in the past, as part of your desire for excitement, walked on the edge of criminality.”

Judge Carr said two people who had set up a similar account but closed it down, and pleaded guilty, had been jailed for four years.

But he said he had “nothing but sympathy” for Balson, who had a difficult childhood after being diagnosed with ADHD, and four years would be “out of kilter with what is necessary and appropriate”.

Det Con Chris Ladmore, investigating officer from the Operation Withern north team, said: “In interview Balson admitted the offence and stated that rioting was OK if it wasn’t on your own doorstep.”

He said Balson, now of Halton Road, Islington, “caused widespread fear and panic to the residents of Barnet whom had already witnessed the events in Tottenham”.

Latest Stories

18:25
The scene outside the Tesco the following morning. [Photograph by John Hercock]

A 58-year-old man was “tarred and feathered” while he lay intoxicated on a bench outside Tesco in Roneo Corner, Romford.

Read more
This Scorpion sub-machine gun was found with a silencer and live ammunition [Photograph from Metropolitan Police]

A sub-machine gun complete with live ammunition has been taken off the streets of London.

Read more
Three people were injured when the black cab crashed outside the Old Bailey  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Three people have been rushed to hospital after a taxi driver crashed into a pedestrian and a cyclist outside the Old Bailey on Tuesday evening.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Do you fancy yourself as a football ground know-it-all? Try our devilishly difficult quiz!

How well do you know your football stadiums? This brand new quiz from London24 will seperate the men from the boys...

Read more
Do you know your Thames truths from the porkie pies? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

So, you live (or work) in London, and you think you know the river well.

Read more
Diego Costa of Chelsea exchanges words with Cesc Fabregas (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

Chelsea have made several personnel changes over the course of the summer as they look to mount a squad that can challenge for the title.

Read more