- Tower Hamlets
Today “millionaire’s daughter” Laura Johnson, or that is how the media wish to portray her, has been sentenced to two years’ custody for her part in the riots.
When this case first came to the public’s attention, I like everyone else living in the areas devastated by the riots, was outraged that she was given bail, when others facing similar charges did not.
My outrage lasted a long time. Yet when I followed the case I heard things about Laura that made me not so angry. Yes, she still has to be punished, and she is going to prison.
Laura is only 20. The young man she was sentenced with who was in her car on the night they were stopped, is still only 17.
When you cover criminal proceedings day by day you get to hear all sides of the story.
The fear of victims, the anger of a community seeking justice.
You also find out that the people accused standing in the dock are human beings who are as genuinely shocked, remorseful, and regretful about what has happened as the people around them.
Some of them are vulnerable and not so wise to the world as we expect them to be.
The headlines today will focus on the privileges and affluence of Laura’s background, the success of her parents, and exploit the surprise that somebody apparently so lucky could have taken part in last summer’s riots.
But I find you cannot judge a book by its cover. Being from a wealthy family does not guarantee mental well-being, happiness or love.
Delores William was reporting the case for East London Lines and recorded her different view of it outside the Inner London Crown Court.