herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Leaping woman in riots filmed arsonist, court told

A WOMAN who was photographed leaping from a burning building during the London riots filmed the arsonist behind the blaze on her mobile, a court heard.

Pictures of Monika Konczyk jumping to safety as her building became engulfed in flames were beamed round the world.

But as the trial into the blaze began it emerged Miss Konczyk had captured the arsonist responsible on her mobile phone.

The prosecution claim it was 33-year-old Gordon Thompson who was behind the fire at the 150-year-old House of Reeves furniture store in Croydon last summer by setting fire to a display sofa.

Miss Konczyk lived opposite the furniture store and when she heard the sounds of breaking glass and went out to investigate and saw hundreds of youths running riot and looting, the court heard.

Filming what was unfolding, it is alleged she captured Thompson setting light to a sofa before she retreated back to the safety of her flat.

Her sister in a phone call then advised her to leave but by that time she found her escape route blocked as flying embers had set fire to her building too.

She was forced to climb out of a window, get on to a shop parasol below before jumping into the arms of a policeman.

Painter and decorator Craig Street also filmed Thompson setting fire to the furniture store after saying "let's burn the place" or "let's torch the place" and asking "Who's got a lighter?, the court heard.

The case continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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