Arsonist who hit Reeves Corner in Croydon riots jailed for 11-and-a-half-years

Riot arsonist jailed for 11-and-a-half-years

Gordon Thompson

House of Reeves

House of Reeves

First published in Croydon Riots by , Chief Reporter

The looter who set the fire to a 150-year-old furniture store destroyed in the Croydon riots has been jailed for 11-and-a-half-years.

Gordon Thompson, 34, used a lighter to set fire to a sofa cushion on display in the House of Reeves store last August, causing £3 million worth of damage.

The dad-of-two had initially denied setting fire to the family run store, but changed his plea two days into his trial in February.

The blaze was so fierce it spread to properties on the opposite side of Reeves Corner, causing residents to flee their homes.

Monika Konczyk was forced to jump to safety from her flat window, with a dramatic photograph becoming one of the riots most iconic images.

The court heard Miss Konczyk said in a victim impact statement she was no longer the happy, bubbly person she once was and her experience had changed her as a person.

Hours before starting the blaze Thompson had gone on a looting spree, ransacking Iceland and the House of Fraser store in Centrale.

In mitigation Adam Davis QC, for Thompson, said the defendant was struggling with his divorce and had been unable to find full time work.

Mr Davis described Thompson as a persistent offender rather than a dangerous offender and said he had not intended his actions to cause the damage it did.

He said: "He wanted me on his behalf, to apologise to all those involved and in particular the Reeves family for what happened as a result of his reckless actions."

Croydon Guardian: Reeves Corner aerial shot during Croydon riots in August 2011.
An aerial shot of Reeves Corner on the night

Sentencing Thompson, His Honour Judge Peter Thornton QC, said: "This is-was- a landmark store, a furniture store of the Reeves family business which had stood on that site for over 140 years, proudly giving its name to its location, Reeves Corner.

"You were about to bring all that to an end.

"The fire was devastating as you must have realised to some extent it would be, but the real cost was in human and emotional terms.

"The Reeves family lost their historic business, something they and generations before them, had lived and worked all their lives.

"Their loss was priceless, the trauma they have suffered is inestimable."

Reaction to Thompson's sentence

Click here for more reaction to the sentence

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:08pm Wed 11 Apr 12

lordofzombies says...

furniture murderer!
furniture murderer! lordofzombies
  • Score: 0

6:10pm Wed 11 Apr 12

Have your say says...

Rot in hell you dirty scumbag.
Rot in hell you dirty scumbag. Have your say
  • Score: 0

7:07pm Wed 11 Apr 12

bobby1956 says...

I don't think any other reader would disagree when I say that his first port of call after his release from Her Majesty's should be the Jeremy Kyle Show!!
I don't think any other reader would disagree when I say that his first port of call after his release from Her Majesty's should be the Jeremy Kyle Show!! bobby1956
  • Score: 0

7:40pm Wed 11 Apr 12

Riazzz says...

Ant how long will he serve ? 3 maybe 4 years ?
Ant how long will he serve ? 3 maybe 4 years ? Riazzz
  • Score: 0

8:44pm Wed 11 Apr 12

bobby1956 says...

Riazz if he does serve say 6 years the remaining 5 years he will be out on licence and he will have to abide by the terms of the licence or he will be back inside to serve the remaining 5 years. The judge should have imposed a minimum tariff which he would have to serve before being eligible for parole i.e. 8 years for example. Still at least he got a long sentence.
Riazz if he does serve say 6 years the remaining 5 years he will be out on licence and he will have to abide by the terms of the licence or he will be back inside to serve the remaining 5 years. The judge should have imposed a minimum tariff which he would have to serve before being eligible for parole i.e. 8 years for example. Still at least he got a long sentence. bobby1956
  • Score: 0

9:54am Thu 12 Apr 12

ANNE MILES says...

A vile individual who damaged Croydon's name for years.
A vile individual who damaged Croydon's name for years. ANNE MILES
  • Score: 0

8:27pm Fri 13 Apr 12

Surreydon says...

Another pathetic sentence for another pathetic scumbag.........
Another pathetic sentence for another pathetic scumbag......... Surreydon
  • Score: 0

1:24pm Mon 16 Apr 12

Martin S says...

I am very glad the Reeves family have seen some sort of justice done, and hope they can carry on their fine business for many more generations and be part of the driving force to rebuild Croydon and move on from these awful times.

Its now time to see justice done for those in West Croydon and New Addington(Co-op shop) who also suffered that night. West Croydon is still trying to recover and so many small shops and families were left with nothing that night.

Reeves fire will always be seen as historic event of that night, but we need see justice for all those who suffered and move croydon forward with a strong community where such violence will not be accepted again.
I am very glad the Reeves family have seen some sort of justice done, and hope they can carry on their fine business for many more generations and be part of the driving force to rebuild Croydon and move on from these awful times. Its now time to see justice done for those in West Croydon and New Addington(Co-op shop) who also suffered that night. West Croydon is still trying to recover and so many small shops and families were left with nothing that night. Reeves fire will always be seen as historic event of that night, but we need see justice for all those who suffered and move croydon forward with a strong community where such violence will not be accepted again. Martin S
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree