A crack cocaine addict who took a leading role in the Lozells riots in Birmingham has been jailed for ten years.
Ameachine Okereke was one of a number of men who attacked the owner of a shop which was ransacked and smashed up during the violence which occurred in October 2005.
Okereke, aged 34, of Brunton Road, Handsworth, had previously been convicted by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court of riot and robbery. He had also pleaded guilty to supplying crack cocaine and offering to supply it.
Judge Richard Griffith-Jones said: “In 2005, in quite a large area of the city there was a total breakdown of law and order. It allowed very ugly scenes of violence between different communities to emerge.”
He said: “Okereke was involved in the initiation of violence”, and went on “you and others literally smashed your way into that shop assaulting the hapless proprietor.
“Your faces were masked and he was badly assaulted and left cowering in the corner of his shop whilst you and others destroyed and stole his property.”
John Butterfield, prosecuting, said at the time tensions had grown between the Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities in the city over an unsubstantiated rumour that a young Afro-Caribbean girl had been the victim of a serious sexual assault at the hands of a number of Asian men.
Efforts were made by police, assisted by responsible members of the two communities, to calm the situation.
However, matters escalated and culminated on the afternoon of October 22 and rioting took place over the weekend. During that time, said Mr Butterfield, hundreds of crimes were committed including two murders. Mr Butterfield said Okereke was present during several incidents of serious disorder, that he threw items, erected temporary barricades, and was seen carrying a bottle.
Mr Omar Daneshyar, defending, claimed Okereke had got carried away in a group and said while on remand in prison had done his best to rid himself of his drugs addiction.