Leroy, now 50, was charged with assaulting three police officers. He said he pleaded guilty on the advice of his legal team and spent nine months in Borstal.
He said: “I pleaded guilty because I didn’t want a sentence of three to five years.
“The idea that I had allegedly battered and maimed three police officers was ridiculous.”
When Leroy returned to Toxteth, the place was almost unrecognisable.
He said: “When I came back, the place I had left was gone. It was never going to be the same. When I was a kid, we used to say ‘let’s go and play in the bombdies’ because there were still areas of bomb damage from the war.
“Coming back in 1981, it was like coming back to a warzone, buildings burned out, rows of shops gone.
“The riot was a symptom of there being something really wrong with our society.
“We smashed our own community up, we destroyed our own homes. There had to be something wrong.”