Six West Yorkshire men and one youth have today been sentenced at Leeds Crown Court following a demonstration and disorder in Cleckheaton, Dewsbury and Heckmondwike in March last year.
The defendants from Bradford pleaded guilty to the charges made against them and will spend more than six years behind bars for the roles they played on the day.
Kevin Angelo Docherty (29) of Grisedale Close, admitted charges of violent disorder and racially aggravated criminal damage and was jailed for 14 months. Robert Adrian Collington (27) of Bedivere Road and Mark Peel (24) of Bolton Hall Road were given 12 months each for violent disorder, while David Kenneth Lawler (30) of Bradford Road, Shipley, was given a 13-month sentence for the same offence.
Also jailed for violent disorder was Ben Phelps (19), who received 10 months, while Steven Philip Woodhead (33) of Heysham Drive was given four months for racially aggravated common assault. A 17-year-old youth who cannot be named received a 12-month youth rehabilitation order.
On the afternoon of Saturday 17 March the English Defence League took part in a peaceful, pre-planned demonstration in Cleckheaton Town Centre. After two hours the group of around 60 people dispersed and a number of men made their way to various locations around Kirklees purporting to be part of the EDL displaying posters and flags as well as shouting abuse at members of the public.
Shortly after the demonstration concluded police responded to reports that a window at the Co-Op Travel Agents on Northgate in Heckmondwike had been smashed, then at around 4pm police received reports of disorder in Dewsbury Town Centre on Northgate and Corporation Street.
Two Asian men travelling in a Vauxhall Corsa were approached on Northgate when stopped at traffic lights and were racially abused. They were spat at as well as their car being damaged after a drink was thrown.
A group of men in Corporation Street had also racially abused and assaulted a 35-year-old Asian man. They knocked him to the floor leaving him with a black eye and bruising to his ribs. He received hospital treatment for his injuries.
Detective Inspector Andy Leonard said: “We welcome the sentences passed today and hope they serve as a warning to those who think its acceptable to abuse people because of the colour of their skin or their religious beliefs and also cause mindless damage.
“We support the right to a peaceful protest however this is an example of when we have had to take positive action against the minority who abuse this.
“These incidents cause fear and concern for innocent members of the public caught up in them and we will simply not tolerate such behaviour.
“Kirklees Division embarked upon a painstaking investigation in order to ensure those responsible were brought to justice and all this hard work has resulted in the sentences imposed by the Courts today.
“We would like to thank the many members of the public who have assisted with this investigation which underlines our ongoing commitment to ensuring the safety of the public in Kirklees.”