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London Riots: Canning Town babe-in-arms mother avoids prison

PUBLISHED: 16:31 14 December 2011

Caught up in summer's London Riots, mother Fatima Habib escaped jail today

Caught up in summer's London Riots, mother Fatima Habib escaped jail today

Archant

The London Riots babe-in-arms mother caught up in the looting has avoided prison.

Fatima Habib, 20, achieved notoriety at the peak of the street disturbances last summer after video of her clutching her son in one arm and a cardboard box in the other was captured on a mobile phone and posted on YouTube.

It showed her carrying the box and a bag out of the Argos store in East Ham,

Habib was in floods of tears as Wood Green Crown Court heard today of her “opportunistic and unplanned” burglary.

Jeffrey Isreal, prosecuting, said the Argos store on High Street North suffered particularly in the riots.

He said: “The image was circulated in public and appeared in a number of newspapers from which she was identified.”

She was arrested when police swooped on her home in Russell Road, Canning Town, on September 9. No items were recovered.

“In interview she said she had entered the store and taken an empty box for her son to play in and then threw it away when he soaked it in urine.

Ishan Dave, defending, said: “Her son began crying for some toys and she went into the shop.

“She picked up the box in an opportunistic and unplanned manner.

“She understands she made a mistake. She is very impressionable young woman with thinking skills difficulties who needs considerable care and support.”

He claimed the box was empty.

Judge Juliette May said: “Though we know you were not implicated in the damage to that store. I have seen a photograph of you with a child on your arms, with a box and a carrier bag.

“I don’t accept your account of that box being empty.

“There are circumstances which allow me to suspend the sentence I am going to pass.

“You should have thought of your children before you got involved in rioting behaviour, she told the mother of two.

Habib, who admitted burglary, was given an eight month sentence suspended for 18 months, given a curfew keeping her at home between 8pm and 6am, told to complete 20 days activities with probation services and 40 hours unpaid work.


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