Charlie Gilmour, the son of Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour, has been sentenced to 16 months in jail today for going on a rampage during a student fee protest in London last December. Most significant among the charges was that he attacked a convoy of cars, including one carrying Prince Charles and Camilla.
The court watched video from the attack, where they heard the younger Gilmour bellow: "Let them eat cake, let them eat cake, they say. We don’t eat cake, we will eat fire, ice and destruction, because we’re angry, very f***ing angry. We refuse to do anything we're told. They broke the moral law. We're going to break all the laws."
Gilmour, who is a former model and is studying history at Cambridge—which might account for the content of his tirade—had admitted to one count of violent disorder last May, after he joined thousands demonstrating in London’s Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square on December 9, 2010.
For his part, the younger Gilmour was accused of leaping onto the hood of the car carrying the royals' bodyguards as well as throwing a garbage can at the royal couple's vehicle. The can missed its intended mark, but it did end up hitting another car and smashing a window at a local branch of Topshop. Gilmour was also accused of stealing a mannequin leg from the clothing store, but that charge was later withdrawn.
During the sentencing, which had been postponed so Gilmour could complete his term at Cambridge, the court heard that the 21-year-old turned to drink and drugs after being rejected by his biological father, the writer Heathcote Williams, and had taken LSD and valium before joining the melee, which included some 30,000 students storming the square. One student urinated on the Winston Churchill statue and, unfortunately for Gilmour, he was photographed swinging from a Union Jack flag on the Cenotaph war memorial, sparking nationwide anger in the press and becoming a symbol of the riots.
The judge who passed sentence at the Kingston-Upon-Thames Crown Court in Surrey was Judge Nicolas Prince QC, the same judge who presided over the May 5 proceedings. He called Gilmour's behavior "deeply offensive" and said he caused public outrage. "What you did went far, far beyond proper protest," he added, saying that Gilmour’s actions at the war memorial had prompted a deluge of "vituperative and many cases obscene" emails. The communications were directed "not just to you, but it is with deep regret, to your whole family, who were of course totally blameless."
Dave Gilmour, who is not Charlie's biological father but adopted him soon after he married his mother, journalist Polly Samson (who you might remember was the co-writer on Pink Floyd's "Division Bell"), was among the family and friends who watched the proceedings from the public gallery.
Judge Price said the 21-year-old Gilmour could be released after eight months in jail, and would start the sentence after completing his final exams at Cambridge University.