Youths ‘ransacked cafe during riot’

A group of youths ransacked a cafe in north-west London during riots last week, smashing windows, flipping tables over and setting light to towels, a court has heard.

Jacques Samuel de la Lubie, 18, and a 17-year-old who cannot be named appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court charged with violent disorder on August 10.

It is alleged the pair were part of a large group of youths who ransacked Le Bijou cafe in St John’s Wood during riots in the capital. Fourteen other defendants were due to appear at the same court charged with the same offence.

Prosecutor Derek Sammy told the court there were customers drinking inside and outside the cafe on Lodge Road when the gang descended.

“One of the group threw a shopping trolley from the shop next door, causing the customers to retreat inside in fear,” he said. “The youths are then seen to pour lighter fluid on the seat of a car and set it on fire.”

The prosecutor said de la Lubie, from Clarendon Road, north-west London, fled to a nearby hospital, where he was eventually found. Police also found a pair of black gloves, a black rucksack and a black hat, as well as a map with locations of various spots of disorder in London.

The other teenager was arrested near the scene by police. The court was told the teenager, who is due to start a construction course at Westminster College, had been “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

The court heard de la Lubie had a genuine interest in journalism, was due to start an HND in marketing and media, and had only been at the incident to document events.

District Judge Robin McPhee said although de la Lubie claimed he had the map to help him with his “journalistic interest”, he had a similar conviction for violent disorder, and remanded him in custody to appear at the same court via videolink on September 8.

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