Arson looter jailed for 11 and half years

Gordon Thompson has been jailed for eleven and a half years for starting a huge fire that destroyed a 140-year-old furniture shop during last summer's riots

Thompson, 34, was sentenced at the Old Bailey for arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered at House of Reeves in Croydon, south London, and burglary.

The blaze was so fierce that buildings on the other side of the street and tramlines in the road caught alight.

Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow told jurors: "Such was the ferocity of the blaze that embers and heat from the flames set fire to property on the other side of the road and numerous residents were forced to flee their homes for their lives.

"Indeed one young woman became trapped inside her flat and was forced to jump from a first-floor window into the arms of rescuers waiting below."

The court heard that the total financial loss to the Reeves family was an estimated £3 million.

In a victim impact statement Trevor Reeves said: "The total destruction of the site has been a bereavement to me, I just can't understand what I have done to make someone do this to me."

The House of Reeves the morning after the riots
The House of Reeves the morning after the riots