A sixteen year old boy, who encouraged robbery and criminal damage on his Facebook profile during the recent August Riots, has been named as Johnny Melfah, of Thames Avenue, Droitwich, Worcestershire, after having his anonymity removed after a court lifted an order preventing him from being publicly named.
Melfah admitted writing comments on his social media page designed to encourage looting and vandalism. He is believed to be the first juvenile to be stripped of their anonymity and named in a case related to rioting. He will be sentenced at Worcester Youth Court on September 14.
The teenager admitted the charges against him and the Chairwomen of the Magistrate’s Bench lifted the usual ban on naming young people.
Nationwide disorder erupted across England earlier this August, including rioting and looting in Birmingham. Three men lost their lives in the Winston Green area of the city, after being hit by a car on Dudley Road on August 10. Five people have sinced been charged with the deaths of the three Asian men.
West Midlands Police also revealed last week that eleven shots had been fired at officers and a police helicopter the night before the three men were mowed down. In other incidents in the city, petrol bombs were thrown at at least one police car, and a local pub, The Barton Arms was damaged by rioters. CCTV footage has shown that a group of at least forty people, mostly young men, masked and dressed in black were involved in the attack.
Dr Patrick Tissington, Associate Dean of Business Partnerships at Aston University studied the scenes of mob violence that struck Birmingham in attempts to analyse the disorder and learn more about crowd behaviour in such situations. He spoke about how just one or two individuals perpetrating and seemingly getting away with criminal and violent acts encouraged others to follow.
He said, “When one person goes at it, several others join in because it’s now been established it’s OK to do that because someone is doing that and no one is stepping in to stop them”.