Student riot accused 'could have sought help'

Jon Brain says Laura Johnson has "swapped university accommodation for prison accommodation"

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A student who says she only took part in the London riots under duress had access to several phones and could have called for help, a court has heard.

Laura Johnson, 20, of Orpington, admits driving three men around London to loot shops during the disorder.

Miss Johnson denies three counts of burglary and three counts of handling stolen goods, at Inner London Crown Court.

Her defence is that she acted out of fear of her passengers.

The prosecution alleges she voluntarily drove around the looters - Emmanuel Okubote, 20, Alexander Elliott-Joahill, 18, and a 17-year-old who cannot be named.

On Tuesday, prosecutor Sandy Canavan claimed the student was inventing things in her defence as she went along.

The barrister said Miss Johnson was in possession of mobile phones during her "kidnap", yet she did not use them to call police.

Start Quote

You could have texted anybody to indicate you were in trouble”

End Quote Sandy Canavan Prosecutor

Miss Canavan said to Miss Johnson: "You were left with the phones as they [the looters] were absolutely sure they weren't at any risk of you having access to those - because you were part and parcel of what was taking place."

The prosecutor added that Miss Johnson entered a petrol station alone that evening to pay for fuel and could have raised the alarm.

She said: "If you had the phones with you, you could have called the police yourself."

Miss Johnson replied: "I could have, yes."

Miss Canavan continued: "You could have texted anybody to indicate you were in trouble."

"I could have, yes," Miss Johnson said.

The prosecutor added: "The reality is you would have got in touch with somebody to say 'I am in trouble, help'."

The defendant answered: "No I wouldn't."

The court has heard that Miss Johnson, a student at Exeter University, comes from a wealthy family.

The trial continues.

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