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The House of Reeves family left ‘bereft’ after their furniture shop was torched during the London riots say they forgive arsonist Gordon Thompson for destroying the business.

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Thompson, 34, was jailed for 11 years and six months for burglary and arson today, at the Old Bailey.

Outside court, 81-year-old Maurice Reeves told of the impact upon his family following events that fateful evening last August - when Thompson set a sofa alight and pushed it inside the shop, in Croydon.

“He’s done so much harm for everybody and we have to fight back and that’s what we are doing. That’s the typical Reeves family,” said Mr Reeves.

Thompson’s solicitor apologised in court on behalf of his client – saying he “could not believe” the consequences of his rampage.

“I think that’s accepted by the family, it’s accepted by me and good for him,” said Maurice Reeve.

Son Trevor said: “My father has built that store up, that store was his baby. I lived there as a child, played there as a child, I lived there as an adult, I worked there for most of my adult life, and when you lose something like that it’s like a bereavement.

“The justice system now has to do its job. The justice system is there to stop him doing it again.

“It has now got 11-and-a-half years to rehabilitate a repeat offender and to stop him doing it again.”

Detective Superintendent Simon Messinger said Thompson now had “a considerable time for him to consider the outcome of his reckless actions” and the “emotional, financial and physical destruction that he has caused not only to the Reeves family but many local residents in Croydon”.

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