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

23 minutes ago
The Job Centre at 120-122 Deptford High Street in its original incarnation in 2008. Although the pub keeps the name, it has not kept the distinctive green and yellow sign [Photo from Google StreetView]

Campaigners have criticised a ‘poor taste’ pub that has opened in a disused Job Centre on Deptford High Street – and kept the name.

Read more
36 minutes ago
The street is partially closed after an accident  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The A4 Strand is partially closed this morning after a collision between a scooter and a van.

Read more
The luxury hotel is a London landmark  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

It seemed like a unique crime: moped-riding thugs descended on the Dorchester, one of London’s most luxurious hotels, and smashed their way through glass cases with sledgehammers, stealing thousands of pounds’ worth of jewellery.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Take our quiz and see how much you know about the Wimbledon Tennis Championships (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Do you know SW19 like the back of your hand? From Henman Hill to Centre Court, Fred Perry to Andy Murray? Well then you should ace our Wimbledon quiz:

Read more
Croatia's Daniel Prajnic, France's Paul Pogba and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo... three hair-raising World Cup stars (Picture: Archant/Getty)

The World Cup is a showcase of fantastic football... and terrible hairstyles. Try this quiz and test your knowledge of the wackiest barnets in Brazil.

Read more
World Cup countries quiz

It's about time you refreshed your brains about the countries competing in Brazil.

Read more
How much do you know about films in London? (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Do you know your Lock Stock from your Long Good Friday, Sliding Doors from Shakespeare in Love?

Read more
Instead of actually going to a park, take our quiz about them... (Picture: Warrick Page/Getty Images)

Think-Kew have got what it takes?

Read more