Former grammar school pupil was 'swept along' by summer riots, court hears

News Shopper: Former grammar school pupil was 'swept along' by summer riots, court hears Former grammar school pupil was 'swept along' by summer riots, court hears

A MILLIONAIRE'S daughter who drove a getaway car during the August riots was "swept along" into taking part in the disorder, a court has heard.

University of Exeter student Laura Johnson, 20, of Sheepcote Lane, Orpington, is accused of three counts of burglary and three counts of handling stolen goods in connection with the summer rioting.

It is alleged she stole a TV from Currys, a quantity of electrical goods from Comet and cigarettes and alcohol from a BP garage, all based at a retail park in Charlton.

Inner London Crown Court today heard Johnson, who appeared alongside a 17-year-old male, was found driving a black smart car containing electrical goods, including TVs and a microwave on August 9.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is also charged with two counts of burglary and two counts of handling stolen goods.

He pleaded guilty to stealing cigarettes and alcohol from the BP garage in Charlton.

A third person has also pleaded guilty to charges of burglary while another man fled the scene and had not been caught.

Sandy Canavan, prosecuting, said a witness saw Johnson parked at an industrial estate in Greenwich and that she picked up a box which had been dumped in a bush and put it in her car.

Jurors heard Johnson had originally told police in her interview that she did not know the other men in her car but that they had got in when she was stopped in Catford earlier in the day.

Ms Canavan said Johnson told police she was not directly threatened but "got the impression they were not the sort of people you say no to".

She later told a doctor she had told them she wanted to go home and that she been threatened by having a thumb put against her throat.

Ms Canavan said: "What we have here are people exercising extraordinarily bad judgement, swept along as so many others were into behaviour which in the cold light of day they can't believe they voluntarily engaged in but nevertheless did engage in.

"It was a voluntary decision of hers to engage in a joint enterprise with others and she is just as guilty as they are of the burglaries."

The court also heard Johnson had been receiving psychiatric treatment at Grooms Park House.

Johnson, a former Newstead Wood and St Olave's pupil is the daughter of Robert and Lindsay Johnson who run Avongate Ltd, a marketing consultancy.

She denies all charges.

The trial continues.

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