Thugs are convicted of robbing YouTube riot victim

Have your say

Two men have been convicted of pretending to be Good Samaritans to steal from an injured Malaysian student during the London riots.

Mobile phone footage of Ashraf Rossli being attacked and robbed during last August’s rioting caused widespread outrage.

Yesterday a jury at Wood Green Crown Court convicted John Kafunda 22, of robbery and violent disorder.

Kafunda, of Eastwood Road in Ilford, was captured on camera putting his arm round Mr Rossli and pretending to protect him when the student was left bleeding and nursing a broken jaw after a he was punched by another youth who stole his bike.

Reece Donovan, 22, of Cross Road, Romford, was caught on camera rifling through the accountancy student’s bag to steal a portable Sony games machine and 10 games. He was convicted of theft, violent disorder and later burgling a Tesco store.

The jury of five women and seven men later decided Donovan was also guilty of robbery after being give directions on a majority verdict. Both will be sentenced on March 13 and were warned to expect substantial jail terms.

Kafunda walked out of the dock down to the cells as the jury rose and refused to return.

Judge James Patrick asked why the defendant was allowed to leave the dock without his permission and told a senior dock officer that he wanted to speak with him later to discuss whether it was “appropriate” for a defendant to leave without permission.

Detective Sergeant John Healy, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “Kafunda and Donovan took advantage of him, posing as Good Samaritans to steal his property.

“Both defendants denied the offences throughout, forcing witnesses to give evidence anonymously and forcing a week’s trial at Crown Court.”

Mr Rossli, 21, had been in Britain for just a month when he was attacked. He was cycling to the aid of a female friend who had been frightened by the riots on August 8 when he was surrounded by a crowd of thugs on a flyover in Barking.

He was first targeted by Beau Isagba, 17, of Ilford, who smashed his jaw and took his bike. Isagba is due to be sentenced on March 9 – the day after his 18th birthday.

Footage of Kafunda and Donovan preying on Mr Rossli, who is 5ft 4in and of slim build, was posted on YouTube and received widespread publicity.