London riots House of Reeves arsonist Gordon Thompson sentenced today

08:39 11 April 2012

Gordon Thompson

Gordon Thompson

A man who started a blaze during the London riots which gutted 140-year-old furniture shop House of Reeves is due to be sentenced today.

A man who started a blaze during the London riots which gutted 140-year-old furniture shop House of Reeves is due to be sentenced today.

The blaze in Croydon, south London, last August was so fierce it spread to buildings on the other side of the road and tram lines in the street caught fire.

Gordon Thompson, 34, admitted arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered, on February 24 - a few days into his trial.

He is due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey today for starting the fire and for burglary.

A picture of a woman escaping from the burning building became one of the iconic images of the riots.

Thompson, of Waddon Road, Croydon, “ran riot through the streets” wearing a bright red hooded top that day, and was captured on CCTV and filmed on mobile phones attacking the shop.

Shop owner Maurice Reeves, said the blaze was so traumatic that parts of him had “died”.

He went on: “The building’s been there all my life. I worked in there every day and when I go into work now the building’s not there.

“It’s with tears in my eyes when I think about it.

“I personally have not a great deal of sympathy for him. He’s put great devastation on the Reeves family and it’s been very difficult. I just hope that the judiciary issues a sentence that warrants the crime and has a deterrent to other people not to behave in this manner,” He told BBC Breakfast.

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