A looter who started a massive blaze that was one of the defining images of the London riots has been jailed for 11 and a half years.
Gordon Thompson, 34, was sentenced on Wednesday at England's Old Bailey central criminal court in London, having pleaded guilty to arson and burglary.
He torched the House of Reeves furniture store in Croydon, south London, on August 8 last year.
The store, more than 140 years old, was such a local landmark that it appears on the London transport map - the tram stop outside being named Reeves Corner.
The blaze, which reduced the store to rubble, was so fierce that it engulfed neighbouring buildings and pictures of a young woman jumping for her life from a first-floor flat opposite were seen worldwide.
"The images of Reeves Corner burning in August last year were played across the globe and were some of the most iconic of the disorder," Croydon police detective superintendent Simon Messinger told reporters outside court.
The maximum sentence for arson is life, but it is rare that sentences go as high as 10 years.
Thompson now has plenty of time "to consider the outcome of his reckless actions", Messinger said.
Judge Peter Thornton told Thompson: "This was a deliberate, wilful act of shocking, dangerous vandalism.
"The Reeves family lost their historic business, something they and generations before had lived and worked for all their lives. Their loss is priceless. The trauma they have suffered is inestimable."
The court heard that the total financial loss to the Reeves family, which has run the store for five generations, was an estimated 3 million ($4.8 million, 3.6 million euros).
In mitigation, Thompson asked his lawyer to apologise on his behalf.
Maurice Reeves, 81, who has worked in the store since he was 16, said he accepted the apology.
"He's done so much tremendous harm for everybody and we have to fight back," he added.
His son Trevor, 56, said: "When you lose something like that, it's like a bereavement.
"That was our store and the sentence will not bring it back."
The riots started in north London after a man was shot dead by police on August 4. A wave of arson and looting then spread across the capital and to other English cities.
Police have so far arrested 4130 people and charged 2577 over the explosion of unrest that left five people dead across England.
Photo: Getty Images