Romford rioter to face trial for robbery that shocked the country

A suspected Romford rioter accused of robbing a Malaysian student while pretending to help him - in one the most shocking incidents from last week’s unrest - will face crown court trial.

Reece Donovan, 21, was allegedly filmed stealing belongings from Ashraf Hasiq Rosli’s backpack while the student was still reeling with a broken jaw inflicted by another man.

Footage of hooded youths robbing the bleeding student has become one of the most shocking images of the unrest, watched almost three million times on YouTube.

The incident was condemned by Prime Minister David Cameron as “disgusting”< showing “there are things badly wrong with our society.”

Mr Rosli was punched in the face after refusing to give up his bike to members of a 100-strong crowd of rioters on the Northern Relief Road, Barking, east London, on Monday.


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When he fell to the floor the man who hit him said “give me your bike” and rode off laughing, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.

A group of men including Donovan appeared to try and help him up, but actually took a black Nokia mobile phone and a Sony PSP, worth �300, from his backpack.

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Donovan, of Milton Court, Cross Road, wore a grey prison-issue tracksuit and a black Adidas jacket for the 10-minute hearing this morning.

Speaking only to confirm his address and correct his date of birth, he stared at his feet and occasionally glanced up at the judge as he was remanded.

Prosecutor Catherine Wear said: “At about 7.30 in the evening there was a large number of youths, between 60 and 100, travelling in one direction.

“A gentleman was on his bike in King’s Road when he was approached by a number of the youths and adults.

“He attempted to get past the group and an attempt was made to steal his bike, which he resisted.

“One of the group then punched him. The force of the punch broke his jaw in several places and he fell to the floor.

“A male who wasn’t Mr Donovan said ‘give me your bike’ then rode off laughing.”

At that point, she added, a member of the public started filming as Mr Hasiq was helped up and his possessions stolen.

She said: “He appeared to be helped by some people around – they appeared to be helping, but were in fact removing items from his rucksack.’

Donovan, who did not enter a plea, did not apply for bail and was remanded for committal to Wood Green Crown Court by District Judge Howard Riddle.

Following surgery last week, Mr Rosli insisted he bore no ill feelings about the incident which took place less than a month after he arrived in the UK.

He said he intended to stay in Britain until he completes his accountancy studies.

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