Millionaire’s daughter jailed for driving looters on crime spree

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A millionaire’s daughter was jailed for two years yesterday for driving looters on a late-night crime spree at the height of last summer’s riots.

University-educated Laura Johnson, 20, chauffeured the group through London on August 8 in her black Smart car.

As they cruised around the capital, her passengers leapt from the car clad in hooded tops, bandanas and balaclavas to loot.

Yesterday at Inner London Crown Court, the University of Exeter undergraduate, from Orpington, Kent, was jailed for two years for one count of burglary and two years for one of handling stolen goods, to run concurrently.

Johnson and accomplice Christopher Edwards, 17, were both convicted of burgling a Comet store in Greenwich and stealing electrical goods between August 7 and 10 as rioters brought chaos to the capital.

They were also convicted of handling stolen goods following a trial in April.

Edwards was yesterday told that he would serve 12 months at a young offenders institution.

The court heard that Johnson set out early on the evening of August 8 to deliver a phone charger to her friend Emmanuel Okubote, 20, a convicted cocaine dealer and thief, known as T-Man.

When they met in Catford, south London, he jumped into the passenger seat while three others climbed into the back. Johnson told police she was told to drive from one place to another over several hours as violence spread across the city.

When she stopped, her passengers – most of whom she claimed to have never met before – looted and robbed people, including fellow looters, at knifepoint.

Johnson – who is reading English and Italian at university – is a former grammar school pupil who reportedly achieved four A*s and nine As at GCSE.

She is the daughter of Robert and Lindsay Johnson who own direct marketing business Avongate Ltd.

The couple sat at the back of the court yesterday as Martin McCartney, mitigating, described how their daughter led a “privileged life with a caring family”.

He said that on the night in question Johnson, who he described as a “bright, intelligent and articulate” young woman, acted in a “moment of madness”.

He said: “At the time of the offence, placing what she did against the background of who she is, this was completely out of character.”