‘Get off the train’: Sunderland Metro racist branded asylum seeker a ‘bomber’ and ‘member of ISIS’
A Metro racist claimed a fellow passenger was a “terrorist” and “member of ISIS” during a shocking rant on a moving train.
Tony Browning shouted that the 25-year-old asylum seeker, from Sudan, should “get off the train” travelling from Monument in Newcastle, branded him a “bomber” and threatened to hit him.
The 33-year-old fairground worker, who pressed the carriage’s emergency stop button at Gateshead Stadium, claimed his victim was a “smack head” who was carrying a needle or knife.
Newcastle Crown Court heard his claims led to the man, who spoke very little English, being questioned and handcuffed by police who searched for a weapon he did not have.
Browning, of Townsend Road, Sunderland, who has 113 previous convictions, admitted racially aggravated harrassment.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court the victim was unclear about what Browning was shouting when he approached him on the train in March but knew he was swearing.
Mr Pallister said Browning “walked up and down the train, shouting” while other shocked passengers looked on.
One witness said Browning also shouted abuse at black passengers before he pressed the emergency brake.
Mr Pallister added: “He was repeating he was a terrorist. He didn’t want the train to move until the complainant had moved.
“He suggested the complainant was a member of ISIS.
“He told witnesses he had seen the complainant with a weapon or needle, something shiny or sharp and mentioned a knife.”
The court heard when police, who had been contacted by Metro staff, questioned the asylum seeker, who spoke virtually no English, he replied “yes” to every question, including if he had a knife.
Mr Pallister said: “He was replying ‘yes’ to all questions.
“Having said yes, police handcuffed him and searched him. No knife was found.
“The carriage was searched and no knife was found. Clearly, he did not have any sort of weapon.”
The court heard the victim now feels frightened to use public transport and worries about a similar situation happening again.
Judge Amanda Rippon told Browning: “You abused a young man on a Metro train in this city, who was doing no more than minding his own business, travelling as he was entitled to.
“You abused him not just generally, but racially, making reference to the colour of his skin, calling him a terrorist, accusing him of having a weapon and frightening him.
“This debacle was seen by other members of the public and it no doubt distressed them as well.
“You were calling him a smack head, a terrorist and telling him to get off the train, telling him you were going to hit him.
“The poor complainant ended up being handcuffed for a short time while police searched for a weapon you said he had, which he never did.”
The judge sentenced Browning to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and programme requirements plus a £25 fine for breach of a previous suspended sentence.
Vic Laffey, defending, said Browning has since stopped drinking and found work at a fairground.
Mr Laffey said despite Browning’s long list of previous convictions, he has never acted in a racist way in the past.
Mr Laffey added: “He is at a loss to explain why he acted in such a reckless way on this particular day.
“It has not been a feature of his life before.”