Man threw fireworks at police during asylum hotel protest

A man who threw lit fireworks at police officers during violent disorder outside a hotel accommodating asylum seekers has been detained.

Jared Skeete, 19, snorted ketamine in front of riot police and shouted abuse outside Suites Hotel in Knowsley on 10 February, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

He threw numerous fireworks in front of around 100 protesters.

Skeete, of Liverpool, admitted violent disorder and was sentenced to three years.

The violence happened during a protest over alleged incidents related to hotel residents, which had been shared on social media.

Judge David Swinnerton said the scenes were “appalling” and “shameful”.

Sentencing Skeete, he told him: “Your role in it, there at the forefront, very close to the police line, throwing fireworks to them, hurling abuse at them, seeking to remove a shield from an officer therefore exposing him to violence and injury, wrestling with him for his riot shield, all of that is despicable behaviour.

“Those scenes of what you did bring shame on you.”

He added: “You goaded the police, you sniffed from your bag of ketamine deliberately in front of them and you were, throughout, shouting abuse at them.”

When arrested Skeete, of Irwell Close in Aigburth, denied being the person shown in the footage but then asked if he could have a copy of it for himself, describing it as “like a movie” and “brutal”, the court heard.

In a statement, PC John Thompson, who was hit on his arm and foot by objects during the violence, said he had suffered bruising and swelling and the incident had caused stress to him and his family.

Insp Ian Murphy suffered post-concussion syndrome following the disorder, the court heard.

Almost £85,000 worth of damage was caused to five police vehicles during the disorder, including a van which was burnt-out.

‘Mob mentality’

Peter White, defending, said Skeete had been socialising with friends on 10 February when he had been made aware of social media rumours which incorrectly accused a resident of the hotel of a serious offence.

He said: “He is a young man aged 19 who allowed himself to be caught up in mob mentality and used this as an opportunity to act in a thoroughly unacceptable manner.”

Skeete was not part of any right-wing organisation and was not involved in planning the disorder, he said, adding: “He was only there for the anarchy that resulted.

“He genuinely wishes to apologise for his actions.”

Det Ch Insp John Fitzgerald said the scenes were “completely reprehensible” and Skeete had “clearly played a role in the disorder” with his “dangerous actions”.

He said the group targeted the premises “causing fear and distress to those residents inside; and to the local community”.

BBC News

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