Charlton looting: Businessman’s daughter in court


Laura Johnson appears as far removed as is possible from the lawless “underclass” said to have been blighting Britain’s streets.

The 19–year–old is a high–flying pupil who attended St Olave’s Grammar School – the fourth best performing state school in the country.

She is now reading English and Italian at the University of Exeter.

However, Miss Johnson now stands accused, along with two others, in connection with the alleged theft of £5,000 of goods from the Stonelake Retail Park in Charlton, south London.

The goods were allegedly found in a car being driven by Miss Johnson.

It was claimed that they were stolen from a Comet store [sic]. Miss Johnson appeared before Bexleyheath magistrates’ court where she indicated a plea of not guilty to five counts of burglary.

Her parents, Robert and Lindsay Johnson, live in a large detached farmhouse in Orpington in Kent. They bought the house, which has extensive grounds and a tennis court, in 2006.

Before moving there they sold their previous house, 10 miles away near Greenwich, for £930,000.

Mr Johnson is a successful businessman, with directorships in several companies. The couple run Avongate, a direct marketing company. Mr Johnson was also a director in a company that took over the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport newspapers in 2007.

Miss Johnson was granted bail on condition that she does not associate with her co–accused, wears an electronic tag, submits to a curfew between 7pm and 6am and does not enter any London postcode. Both her parents were in court to offer her their support.

She is due to return to the court on Sept 21 when her case is expected to be committed to the Inner London Crown Court.

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Charlton deals with the day after the looting

Most shops and businesses in Charlton had closed by the middle of Tuesday afternoon as fears grew of further riots across south-east London. In Charlton Village, all premises were closed except the Bugle Horn pub and the new Baguette sandwich bar.

Down the hill, the clean-up continued after a night of looting at the local retail parks. Charlton Champion reader Simon captured the scene in the Greenwich Shopping Park, and the debris from a night’s thieving was still obvious around the foot of Victoria Way this morning, with piles of wrappings adding to the usual clutter in the alley leading to the GSP.

Despite rumours carried by a local newspaper website, there was no fire at Asda, which opened for business as usual. Argos, Staples and the Carphone Warehouse were all closed, along with other clothing and electrical retailers.

But the worst damage, though, was at the Stone Lake Retail Park, where PC World and Currys were looted and daubed with graffiti. This afternoon, PC World staff were removing stock from the store.

It’s not known when the affected stores will be back in operation.

Greenwich Borough Commander Richard Wood said last night’s scenes were “utterly unacceptable”, adding “I will do everything in my power to ensure that those involved are caught.”

He continued: “I urge everyone in the borough of Greenwich to clear the way for police at night so that we can deal with those criminals who intend to bring disruption to our area. Also, people must not to take matters in their own hands and have to let the police deal with incidents in a law abiding manner.

“I ask parents, schools, local leaders and others to stand together and convey the message that the crime and disorder we have witnessed will not be tolerated. I have spoken to many people across the borough today and without exception, they are appalled by the outrageous criminal acts of thuggery that took place.

“Many arrests have already been made, but I would ask everyone to work with police and help us to identify those involved so that we can arrest them at the first opportunity.

“We continue to work with the Council and other emergency services to ensure that we keep everyone in Greenwich safe.

“Above all, we remain unfaltering and united in tackling criminals on our streets and look for support from you, the community we serve.”

Anyone with information can call police on 101, or images and video can be e-mailed to