33-year-old Gordon Thompson has admitted to setting light to Croydon’s famous House of Reeves furniture store last August during the London riots.
Gary told courts how he picked up a laptop from the store window before setting light to a sofa in the shop which became some what of a landmark after standing for 145 years.
House of Reeves owners Trevor Reeves, 56, and his father Maurice were in court today to see Thompson dramatically change his pleas to guilty.
Speaking outside the courts Maurice Reeves said:
It’s difficult to describe because it’s been such a traumatic time for us. The building’s been there all my life, I worked in there every day and when I go into work now the building’s not there. You can appreciate it’s still sinking in and today brings all the memories back… It’s with tears in my eyes when I think about it.
The fire grew so big that houses on the other side of the road caught ablaze too. Gordon Thompson admitted to two of the four charges against his name, after he had previously denied arson. He changed his plea and took responsibility for arson and burglary of the laptop from the House of Reeves, and had already pleaded guilty to the burglary of two other shops on that same evening, House of Fraser and Iceland.
Jurors heard of how Gordon boasted of the fire started on August 8 2011 saying:
It was me – I did that. I burned Reeves Furniture.
Before being told by Judge Peter Thorton QC that he faces a long prison sentence when he is charged in April.