Public school students trashed a £2 million home in Hampstead they had hired for an end-of-term party when the event turned into a ‘riot’ that ended with clashes with police.
The sixth form pupils at a top north London private school had rented the £750-a-night house to celebrate finishing their exams.
But as more and more guests started arriving, the party spiralled out of control, with revellers dousing the furniture with petrol and smashing the owner’s crystalware.
The party then moved celebrations onto the road outside. When police arrived, the students began fighting in the street, creating scenes that local residents said were similar to the London riots.
The house is just yards away from the homes of a number of celebrities, including actor Tom Conti, Esther Rantzen, the TV presenter, and footballer Thierry Henry.
The owner, who did not wish to be named, said she thought they had rented the house for a quiet sleepover but was instead left with a £15,000 repair bill.
She said: “I really didn’t expect any of this, they said it would just be a small sleep-over.
“They were putting paint and petrol everywhere. They smashed an expensive granite sink, ripped up mahogany floorboards and they were flinging my crystal decanters around the place.
“The kitchen knives were out – somebody could have been killed. It was like a looting in my own house.”
Canisters of the “laughing gas” drug were found strewn around the house as well as a plastic bag filled with white powder and other paraphernalia.
Chris Fallows, 49, a writer who lives in the area, said: “There were about 40 or 50 kids, all well-dressed, and they were yelling right in the cops’ faces.
“They were inches away from them, shouting, cursing and refusing to move, and this went on until about 2am.
“A lot of the kids had their cell phones out and were thrusting them in the faces of the policemen, almost daring them to do something. It was as though they thought they were taking part in some kind of Arab Spring.”
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “It felt like the London riots were starting again outside my house. I thought, ‘this is about to go off’.
“Two or three were singled out and flung to the ground and then flung into a van. Nothing like this ever happens in this neighbourhood.”
Talking about the party on their Facebook accounts the following day, one of the revellers asked “shall we arrange another?” while another answers, “Yessss plzz (please) do it again – i think we could keep it on lock if there was security tbh (to be honest).. Then feds can say anything.”
Party-goes had a whip-round and left £480 in cash on a table for the damage. Then in a bizarre twist, another boy who would not give his name turned up the next morning and handed the owner a further £3,000.
However she said the money is not nearly enough to cover the repair bill.
She also criticised police for not taking the matter seriously enough, saying: “There were drugs everywhere but the police aren’t helping, they say it’s just a civil matter.
“I want to warn people. When you’re renting, even through an agency, you have to really get all the details of the people when you take them on. This could happen to anyone.”
The case against a 17-year-old youth charged with a public order offence in connection with disorder in the street after the party was dropped last week. A 17-year-old youth and a 16-year-old have been bailed to return to police at a later date.
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