House of Reeves arsonist Gordon Thompson: Exclusive video footage from the riots
THIS never-seen-before video shows how House of Reeves arsonist Gordon Thompson was caught on camera the night of the Croydon riots.
The footage, captured by Croydon Advertiser reporter Gareth Davies and freelance photographer Greg Mack, shows 34-year-old Thompson on Surrey Street on the evening of August 8, running into Iceland and then emerging with his stolen goods.
The picture showing Thompson with his loot appeared on the front page of the Croydon Advertiser that Friday, and he was arrested after a reader spotted him walking through central Croydon.
Watch the video below
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Gordon Thompson was jailed for 11 and a half years on Wednesday for setting fire to Croydon furniture store House of Reeves.
He stole a laptop from the historic store before setting fire to a sofa in “an act of cynical cowardice”.
The blaze was so fierce it destroyed the building and spread to flats in Church Street, sending families fleeing for their lives.
At the Old Bailey on Wednesday Judge Peter Thornton QC jailed him for 11 years and six months for arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, two years for burgling House of Fraser, two years for burgling Iceland and three years for burgling House of Reeves.
The judge ordered the sentences to be served concurrently.
"You knew that with each click of the lighter there would be a risk that lives were put at risk, but nevertheless you went ahead," the judge told Thompson.
"This was a deliberate and wilful act of shocking vandalism.
"The fire was devastating, as you must have known it would be."
The judge added: "It was extremely good fortune, and no thanks to you, that no one died or was seriously injured, but they will be emotionally scarred for a long time."
Trevor and Maurice Reeves speak outside the Old Bailey after Thompson is jailed
House of Reeves was founded in Croydon in 1867 and survived two World Wars. The street on which it stood was named after the family business.
Initial estimates put the damage Thompson caused at £1 million, not including the £330,000 it cost Transport for London to repair nearby tramlines. He also caused £105,000 of damage to House of Fraser.