Two men have been arrested in connection with the murder of a man who died during the riots in Croydon on Monday.
Meanwhile, as debate into the causes of the riots continued both locally and nationally, communities were banding together to try come to terms with the dramatic events, shopkeepers and business were counting the cost of the damage and police increased their attempts to track down the culprits.
Today, what has been called a ‘Unity March’ of community activists including trade unionists, public sector workers and members of the Turkish community, will march from Dalston to Tottenham, details of which arehere. In Croydon tomorrow, a special service will be conducted by the Bishop of Southwark in Croydon Minster. Croydon Council has also issued advice to local people on dealing with the aftermath of the riots. The advice covers community assistance schemes and how to volunteer, donate and help others affected. Full details are here
Scotland Yard said last night that two men had been arrested on suspicion of murder over the death of Trevor Ellis, 26, of Brixton Hill. Ellis and a group of friends were involved in an altercation with another group of nine people on Monday night. His death is one of five that may be linked to disorder across England.
A 26-year-old was arrested in Mitcham. A 24-year-old was arrested in Brighton and later released on bail.Two men were arrested at the scene on suspicion of handling stolen goods. They were later bailed pending further inquiries.
As the fall out from the riots in south and east London continued, the Government has promised that the high numbers of police officers will remain on the streets of London until further notice.
The number of officers patrolling the streets Croydon, Hackney and other affected areas has almost trebled to 16,000 since last weekend when a low police presence was believed to be one of the reasons for the violence which took place between Saturday night and the early hours of Tuesday morning. All police leave has been cancelled until next Tuesday. More than 1,000 people have been arrested in London and more than 100 charged with riot related offences; courts have sat through the night to process cases.
Further details of events during the riots continued to emerge. In Lewisham, it was revealed that the constituency office of local MP Heidi Alexander was among a number of buildings attacked. The windows were smashed and computer equipment stolen.
The Lewisham East MP, 36, cut short her honeymoon in the United States to condemn the rioters during the emergency session in the Commons. She said: “Compared to those who lost their homes and businesses, I was one of the lucky ones, she said.
In her speech she said it was too simplistic to argue that the riots were the direct product of Government cuts. “But the people out rioting on Monday are, by and large, not the people who use our youth clubs nor, I suspect, are they the people who will be re-evaluating a university education as a result of increased tuition fees.
You can read a full report here
Among those charged were two teenage girls involved in an attack on the police in Lewisham. One 16-year-old girl is accused of two counts of robbery, attempted robbery, possession of a knife, threatening violence and assault on police and a 15-year-old is charged with attempted robbery and threatening violence. The girls were identified by officers, the Met said.
Also in Lewisham, a police officer described how he and just five other colleagues, fended off a gang of 50 hooded youths from ransacking a retail park in Catford. Constable Gordon Murphy, 30, and five other officers had just two shields to protect them against a mob who were trying to loot the stores in Catford on Monday night.
The officer, based at Catford Police Station, told the Press Association that he and his colleagues charged at the mob – despite them being so few in their number – in a bid to scare them off. The father-of-one, who lives in the area and stationed in Lewisham, said the gang of 40 to 50 youths waited until dark to start their assault.
He said: “As darkness fell, the young people started attacking – they were throwing bricks and bottles at us. There were two of us with small shields to protect other police officers and the property. Once they had thrown missiles at us they then rushed directly towards us, shouting and screaming. Their intention was to run at us mob-handed to frighten us to run away. Don’t get me wrong, it did cross our minds, but I am a local police officer, I work in the Safer Neighbourhood Team. When you police the local area, you get to know people, you do get quite protective of your area and have a pride in it.
“You want people to be safe, you want businesses to be safe, so we just thought: ‘We are not having any of this’.
“We just showed a show of strength, with our shields and our batons drawn, shouting as loud as we could: ‘get back’ and a few other war cries and the kids ran back across the road and continued throwing things at us.”
The small group protected the area on their own for about half an hour before backup could come and disperse the group. Murphy said he felt “proud” that he had managed to keep the buildings safe and added that he and a few others suffered minor injuries during the clash.
“We have been doing 14-hour shifts and upwards so most officers are not getting to see their families, not getting to see their partners, they are surviving on five to six hours sleep a night at the most. We are lucky if we’re eating properly.
In Croydon, where some of the worst rioting took place, two people arrested in connection with the arson attack which destroyed the 100-year-old House of Reeves furniture business have been released from police custody.
A 15-year-old boy and a 25-year-old man were questioned on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.The teenager has been released on bail to a date to be fixed and the 25-year-old released with no further action being taken, said Scotland Yard. Another man, aged 21, has been bailed until September.
Police workers and volunteers not normally tasked with facing violent crowds have also described what it was like to face the riots in Croydon on Monday night. See the full Press Association report here