Ex-soldier’s anti-Muslim rants on Facebook

EDL supporter Kenneth Holden posted anti-Muslim messages on Facebook.

EDL supporter Kenneth Holden posted anti-Muslim messages on Facebook.

A SOUTH Tyneside ex-soldier used his Facebook page to make racist comments about Muslims.

Kenneth Holden wrote the anti-Islamic messages after he started supporting the far-right English Defence League (EDL).

The 30-year-old was arrested after police were alerted to the abusive comments that were written on his personal page.

Holden, of Winskell Road, South Shields, pleaded guilty to two counts of sending an offensive message by a public communication network at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last week.

Magistrates adjourned the case until yesterday for the probation service to write a report about him.

The report recommended that Holden be placed under the supervision of probation so his attitudes towards Muslims could be looked at.

Kevin Smallcombe, defending, asked the magistrates to go along with the report’s recommendation.

Holden was given a 12-month community order with supervision.

Jeanette Smith, prosecuting, told the court that the messages were brought to the police’s attention on April 21.

She said: “After receiving the report, officers searched Facebook, found the defendant’s page and saw the religiously abusive comments.

“He was arrested, and asked the police if it was because he didn’t like Muslims.

“In a second police interview, he posted the comments on his page and accepted that they could be seen as offensive to Muslims.”

At the first hearing, Mr Smallcombe said: “He was in the Army, and has some fairly strong views about Muslims.

“He supports some of the beliefs of the English Defence League and believes that the group was started after some Muslims spat on soldiers who were returning from Afghanistan.

“The comments on Facebook were of a religious nature.

“Some people say it is part of free speech, but by his guilty plea Mr Holden accepts he crossed the line.

“Most of our country has fair and tolerant views but some are extremists, on both sides of this argument.”

Holden was also sentenced for a separate criminal damage charge relating to his grandfather’s home.

The case goes back to June 28 when police found him in the house while his grandfather was in hospital.

He had broken into the home through the back door.

Holden was ordered to pay £60 compensation to his grandfather and £160 court costs for both cases.

Jarrow and Hebburn Gazette

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