Pop star Leona Lewis has spoken of her anguish after seeing parts of her beloved hometown burned down in the London riots last year (11).
The Bleeding Love hitmaker, who lives in the London borough of Hackney, locked herself in her apartment when violent battles with police, arson attacks and looting of shops and business broke out across the U.K. capital last August (11).
Former The X Factor winner Lewis remained in her home as she watched the harrowing scenes unfold on TV following a peaceful protest in nearby Tottenham after cops shot dead Mark Duggan, a local man they were attempting to arrest on suspicion of being in possession of a handgun.
A year after the riots, which also broke out in other U.K. cities, the singer tells Britain's The Sun newspaper, "I was at home in Hackney when the riots started last year. My two friends had to stay round my house as we didn't know if it would be safe for them to go home. I was worried about what would happen to the people who had their businesses and homes damaged.
"My parents both live in Hackney too and my dad was supposed to bring a CD round to my house that night. He rang me and said: 'How badly do you want this CD, because I've just seen a Mini (car) get a petrol bomb thrown at it?' I told him to go home straight away...
"The pictures on the news and in the papers were terrifying and it just kept rolling on. Seeing the pictures of the violence, looting and rioting made you think it was just totally out of control and the police were overwhelmed."
The star has since become involved with a local youth project working to give school children greater opportunities in a bid to battle some of the social issues which may have fuelled the riots.