Friday, August 12, 2011

Behind the riots

More information has come out about the young man whose shooting triggered the riots in London. Mark Duggan was the nephew of a renowned gangland criminal with a history of violence. Duggan's late uncle has been revealed as Desmond “Dessie” Noonan, whose feared crime family ran Manchester's underworld for 20 years. In 2005, Noonan featured on Donal MacIntyre's TV documentary Gangster and claimed his family were “untouchables”. He boasted “I've got a bigger army than the police. We have more guns than the police.”

Noonan's second wife Julie, 50, is the sister of Duggan's mum Pamela. Duggan is understood to have regularly visited his uncle and Julie to babysit their children.
When the couple divorced following Noonan's 1993 acquittal for the murder of gangster Anthony Johnson, Duggan continued to visit him for family parties.

A source told the Sun newspaper: “They took Mark under their wing, they liked him, not just as a nephew, but as a mate. When he came to Manchester he'd see them, and if they went to London they'd have a night with him.”

In 1995 Noonan was described as a "psycho" in court for a violent attack on twin brothers. He was jailed for 33 months.

In MacIntyre’s Gangster documentary he joked that key witnesses at his court hearings failed to turn up because “some are deranged... because they are in the back of a boot tied up and they don't know what day it is”.

Later that year the 45-year-old was stabbed to death by drug dealer Derek “Yardie” McDuffus.

The link emerged yesterday as police sources said the officer who opened fire on Duggan had “an honest-held belief that he was in imminent danger of him and his colleagues being shot”. A gun belonging to Duggan was found at the scene in Tottenham, North London, but is not thought to have been fired during the incident.

The backlash against the riots and looting has been substantial. Attempts to blame the rioting on austerity measures have been dismissed. One suggestion has been that young people have been involved since the government has withdrawn a subsidy offered by the last government to pay youngsters to stay at college between the ages of 16 and 18. But that subsidy has not yet been withdrawn and anyway it is the school holidays at the moment. 1100 people have been charged with offences of violence and theft in London alone. There is much remorse. One student has a 6 month prison sentence for stealing a bottle of water. Children as young as 11 have been in court. David Cameron has spoken of Draconian measures to keep the streets safe and the Test Match has taken place without incident. I think things are largely back to normal - thanks to the rain, more than anything.

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