Millionaire's daughter fails to sway court
London - The daughter of a millionaire was convicted on Thursday of driving a group of rioters around London for a looting spree during the wave of violence that spread across British cities last summer.
Laura Johnson drove the balaclava-clad group around London on August 8 last year, and allowed them to pile her car with stolen goods from an electronics store.
The 20-year-old, whose millionaire father runs a marketing firm, was convicted at Inner London Crown Court of burglary and handling a stolen television.
She was cleared of a second count of burglary involving the theft of cigarettes and alcohol from a petrol station.
Johnson, a student at the University of Exeter in southwest England, had denied the charges, claiming she had acted under duress.
The jury heard that she had set out in the early evening to deliver a phone charger to her friend Emmanuel Okubote, a 20-year-old convicted crack cocaine dealer and thief.
When she arrived at their meeting point in south London, he had jumped into the passenger seat while others climbed into the back of the car.
Johnson told police she had been ordered by the group to drive them around until the early hours, and had been too scared to refuse.
"I didn't get the impression they were the sort of people you say no to," she had told detectives, according to evidence heard in court.
Police arrested a total of 4 130 people and charged 2 577 over the explosion of unrest in English cities last summer that left five people dead.
The riots flared in London following the death of Mark Duggan in a police shooting on August 4, and quickly spread to Birmingham, Manchester and other towns and cities.