Anti Muslim mob jailed for violent rampage

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Four jailed after attacking Asian men in march against Islamic extremists

FOUR men who were part of a mob that went on the rampage during a march against Islamic extremists in Luton have been jailed.
 The ‘March for England’ through the town centre on 24 May last year saw windows smashed at an Asian owned fast food shop, an Asian man attacked in the shop’s doorway and placards hurled at police officers.

Seven men appeared for sentencing at Luton Magistrates Court on Tuesday 19 January having pleaded guilty to causing affray. Only four were sentenced as pre sentence reports had not been prepared for three of the others.

James Butler, 18, of Beeches Crescent, Crawley, West Sussex, Tony Griffiths, 27, of Manor Road, Caddington and Simon Hattle, 21, of Hazelwood Close, Luton all received 16 weeks.  Richard Myers, 21, of Marsom Grove, Luton was sentenced to 28 weeks.

The march was organised in response to the group of Muslims who had disrupted a home coming parade by the Royal Anglian Regiment on 10 March last year.

Abuse had been hurled at the soldiers who were called “Butchers of Basra”, “Rapists,” “Murderers” and “Baby killers.”

Last week five Muslim men were conditionally discharged after being convicted of public order offences.

Prosecutor Jason Wolfe said the protest was a “counter-demonstration.” He told the court a large group met at the Park pub where some wore balaclavas, draped themselves St George and Union Jack flags, and carried placards which read “United People of Luton.” They gathered outside Luton Town Hall where there was chanting “scum, scum, scum,” before they marched through the town centre. In Chapel Street an Asian man was attacked and a window was smashed at the Asian-owned Piri Piri chicken takeaway.

CCTV footage was played which showed the group running across a dual carriageway in Stuart Street and attacking a car containing three Asian men. Racist comments were made and a side window was smashed, causing £700 of damage.

The group headed back towards the Arndale shopping centre, but were stopped in Flowers Way by Bedfordshire Police’s Operational Support Unit, which were armed with shields. Poles and placards were hurled at the officers, who the prosecutor said were “goaded” by the group. Later there was more trouble in St George’s Square where an Asian man, who has not been identified, was also attacked.

Butler, who works at Asda, had previously received a reprimand for using racially aggravated insulting words or behaviour. In the footage he appeared at the front of the group, trying to incite the others. His lawyer Amy Connell said Butler fully accepts his actions. She said: “He is immature, easily-led and does not think things through.”

Griffiths was part of a running mob in St George’s Square that attacked the Asian man. His lawyer Gordon Young said Griffiths he had gone to the pub to watch the Scunthorpe verses Millwall match and went on the march because his “curiosity had got the better of him.” He said he had left school at 16 and now worked as a company director and felt he had let people down.

Hattle threw a pole at the police. He had tried to cover his face while on the parade, but was easy for the police to identify because he was bare-chested and had his named tattooed on his body. Mr Young said unemployed Hattle denied chanting “anything inflammatory”.

Myers, a labourer, threw a stick and was seen at the front of the crowd in Flowers Way and kicking the Peri Peri window. His lawyer Nick Titchener said he apologised for his behaviour.

District Judge Carolyn Melanby said they had carried out “aggressive, violent behaviour.” She told them: “People who behave in this way will lose their liberty.”

 

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