Longest prison sentence yet for Hackney riots

pic: Met Police

A man has been given the longest riot related prison sentence for the Hackney disturbances on August 8.

Junior Saunders, 36, was handed a five-year custodial sentence at Wood Green Crown Court on Wednesday, after pleading guilty to six separate charges including violent disorder, criminal damage to a police car and burglary.

Saunders was charged after evidence gathered by Operation Withern, set up by the Met to investigate the riots, showed Sanders taking part in the disturbance.

Detective Inspector Philip Langworthy, Hackney’s Senior Investigating Officer for Withern, said: “This is an excellent result. Mr Saunders has many previous convictions and this long period of imprisonment will stop him from ruining other people’s lives.”

Saunders was captured on CCTV committing a number of offences. Among them was an attack he led on Eye London opticians on Mare Street, during which 20,000 pairs of glasses were stolen.

He was also seen breaking into Clarence Convenience Store, which resulted in £85,000 worth of damage, and attacked two police cars with a cycle lock.

The Met identified Saunders through his attire, which consisted of a distinctive t-shirt and pair of trainers. He was arrested at a property in Hackney, where further evidence was found linking him to the offences.

DS Benton Perry, from Hackney’s Withern team said: “Throughout the investigation Saunders continued to deny his involvement in these offences. As a result of our meticulous investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service authorised the six charges.

“After charge, the investigation team continued gathering evidence with the use of facial recognition experts. When faced with this overwhelming evidence, Saunders changed his plea to guilty on all six counts, resulting in this appropriately lengthy sentence.”

Steve Bending, Borough Commander of Hackney Police, said: “I am pleased that in sentencing him to five years imprisonment, the court has recognised the role he played at numerous scenes of the disorder and his appalling behaviour throughout.”

Currently the longest jail sentence passed down for the riots in London is five years and four months. Johanson Ago, 22, received the sentence in November at the Inner London Crown Court for his part in the disturbances in Woolwich.

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