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Public order offence

AN anti-paedophile campaigner has been jailed for throwing punches and kicks in a violent clash between football supporters in the city centre.

Christopher Wittwer was one of seven men sentenced at Exeter Crown Court yesterday after the group of hooligans went after Huddersfield Town supporters in May last year.

Wittwer, who set up a controversial anti-paedophile website naming convicted child sex offenders last summer, was jailed for 10 months.

Violence flared while the High Street was full of shoppers, including parents who had to shield their toddler in a push chair.

Wittwer, 35, of Oakmead, Aylesbeare; Darren Bolt, 24, of Salisbury Road, Exmouth; Neil Vooght, 35, of Hazelwood Park, Dawlish, and Neil Cartwright, 37, of Lapwing Close, Cullompton, all admitted affray.

Bolt, Vooght and Cartwright were also jailed for 10 months but the term was suspended for two years.

They were ordered to carry out 220 hours of unpaid work each.

Brendan Daniel, 24, of Leypark Road, Exeter; Mark Langdon, 20, of Austin Close, Exeter, and Joseph Foxworthy, 25, of Old Vicarage Road, Exeter, admitted public order offences. They were due to be given community orders with unpaid work.

Prosecutor Richard Crabb told the court the group were “looking for a violent confrontation” on May 8, last year, the day of a home game between Exeter City and Huddersfield Town.

He said a group of Huddersfield fans had been having a “quiet drink” in The Ship Inn, but most had left.

At 2pm, a group of 25 Exeter supporters gathered outside the pub shouting and swearing.

Some went inside but on realising the rivals had left walked up the High Street where they found a group of four Huddersfield fans.

Wittwer and Vooght were aiming punches and kicks at the rivals. They also chased them down the road. Bolt was seen throwing punches and Cartwright kicking out.

Mr Crabb said: “Members of the public were moving out of the way and some were protecting a toddler in a push chair.”

When police arrived the group fled but these defendants were identified.

Mr Crabb said the violence was “nipped in the bud by the prompt arrival of police” but had the potential to be much worse. The incident was clearly caught on CCTV.

Wittwer previously received a banning order for three years for threatening an Aldershot Town supporter in Sidwell Street, in 2004. He breached the order twice and was also convicted of an affray in a nightclub, in 2007.

The court was told that Vooght, Bolt and Daniel had no previous convictions.

Cartwright and Foxworthy both have two dissimilar previous convictions and Langdon has two public order offences on his record, from 2009.

Stephen Nunn, mitigating for Wittwer, said he admitted his guilt straight away and wanted to be sentenced back in February. He told the court that Wittwer, who has an ex-wife and child who live abroad, rarely goes out now and has not offended since the incident.

He conceded that he “had the disadvantage of having two things on his record that put him in a difficult situation.”

Mitigating for Vooght, Nigel Wraith said the offence was “completely out of character”.

For Bolt, Cartwright, Daniel, Foxworthy and Langdon, Kevin Hopper said they should get credit for their guilty pleas.

Judge Phillip Wassall told Wittwer he had a “dreadful record for football-related violence.”

They were all given football banning orders preventing them from attending games for six years.

This is Plymouth

AN URGENT call for help has been made to the government to protect Nuneaton from falling victim to the English Defence League again.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council leader, councillor Dennis Harvey wants the Home Secretary Theresa May to take action as the town has been targeted by the controversial group more than any other place in the entire country.

A letter, signed by Cllr Harvey, Cllr Peter Gilbert, the leader of the opposing Conservatives at the Town Hall, and chief executive Christine Kerr, has been sent to the corridors of power in Parliament asking for help following the most recent demonstration and march.

“Saturday saw the fourth visit of the English Defence League to our borough, a visit that brought nothing but fear, problems and enormous cost to local residents,” Cllr Harvey said.

“From what I can gather, we have now been targeted more than any other town in Britain.

“The borough council, along with the county council, has asked the Home Secretary to act in regard to the EDL. The local authorities, nor the police, can continue to deal with this problem alone. Nuneaton and Bedworth is a harmonious community, where people of all cultures and backgrounds get along well together. Attempts to disrupt this and divide us will not win, but we cannot do this alone. “The government must act to protect small towns such as ours.”

As featured in yesterday’s News, businesses and market traders are now counting the cost of the demonstration and march.

Early indications are that around half a million pound in revenue was lost on the day, but that shocking figure could rise further.

Despite some businesses choosing to close and others shutting up shop by the afternoon, there were stores and market stall holders who attempted to trade throughout the day.

Their determination to ensure it was `business as usual,’ as well as the huge policing effort to protect the town has been praised by Cllr Harvey.

“Can I pass on my thanks to those residents and to the market traders, shopkeepers and others who decided to stand firm and not let people from elsewhere ‘win’,” he said.

“Our local police deserve nothing but praise for the way in which they handled this march and dealt with the many hundreds of people who came in to our borough to disrupt daily life.”

Chiefs at Warwickshire Race Equality Partnership (WREP) joined the plaudits, particularly those who took part in the counter demonstration in the Church Street car park.

“A big thankyou to the communities of Nuneaton, who have shown great strength and courage, and listened to community leaders to stand together against far right parties and not to rise to provocation and enticement,” said Helal Shahid, WREP chief executive.

“I am pleased that Saturday passed peacefully, nevertheless, anyone who does need support, help or advice on how to report any racist incident can do so through one of our reporting centres.”

The huge policing operation almost certainly stopped simmering tensions boiling over into violence moments after the EDL’s official march had started at just after 1pm.

It came to a nasty flashpoint as the march came past the Church Street car park where around 150 Nuneaton Anti-Facist Alliance (NAFA)and associated group members were staging a peaceful static, counter demonstration.

Cans, bottles, stones and fireworks were thrown, and angry words and chants were exchanged between the rival protesters.

It came to an ugly climax when both sides surged towards each other and police horses, dogs and riot officers had to rush-in to keep the two apart.

The march then proceeded around onto Vicarage Street, past the Justice Centre, down into Bond Gate and then back up Wheat Street and into the Justice Walk car park, where an EDL rally was held.

But the policing operation carried on way after the coaches had arrived to collect the majority of the sympathisers, who came from across the country.

As a result of the huge police presence, seven arrests were made, which led to three people being charged and they are now due to appear before justices at Nuneaton Magistrates Court.

They are Calum Michael Bruce, aged 23 from Hartshill, Nuneaton who was charged with a public order offence.

Kevin Patrick Keegan, aged 44 and from Walsall, who was charged with a public order offence, and Gary Watson, aged 42 from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, who has been charged with being drunk and disorderly.

All three have been released on police bail to appear before Magistrates at the Vicarage Street-based court on Tuesday.

A 17-year-old male from Nuneaton who was arrested for possession of a knife has received a final warning. A 16-year-old male and a 17-year-old male, both from Nuneaton, who were arrested on suspicion of causing affray have been released on police bail.

So has a 21-year-old man from Nottingham, who was arrested on suspicion of robbery. All three have been bailed to appear at the local police station at a later date, pending further police enquiries.

Nuneaton News

 

Joel Titus

AN Eastcote teenager has been banned from attending protests by far-right group the English Defence League.

Joel Titus, 19, of North View, who has been violent at EDL protests, was slapped with an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) at Uxbridge Magistrates Court on Friday.

The court heard about the teenager’s involvement in a string of incidents between 2009 and 2010, which police say were overwhelmingly related to EDL protests.

Titus was barred from entering or loitering outside mosques or Islamic prayer rooms, attending any EDL demonstration, or visiting an area of Whitechapel for three years.

He is not allowed to be part of a group of ten or more people, whose actions could cause alarm or distress, display a sign or placard, or use defamatory or insulting language which could cause alarm or distress.

Detective Constable Andy Haworth, from the national domestic extremism unit, said: “We hope this anti-social behaviour order will show people we will not tolerate violence being used at legitimate lawful protests.”

Edmund Hall, London ASBO specialist at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “Mr Titus’ activities were not simple political protest when he became involved in public disorder and violence.

“Where that sort of activity is present, police and the CPS will seek to control the freedom of that individual through prosecution and antisocial behaviour orders.”

The hearing was brought after Titus was convicted for a public order offence and resisted arrest at a pub in Hillingdon, in December 2010.

Harrow Times

A man who used his Facebook account to post racist messages has been given community service.

Raymond Strachan, 21, used the social networking site to promote his support of fascist group the Scottish Defence League.

On Tuesday, Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Strachan visited various pages on Facebook and left various messages on them in an attempt to stir up racial hatred.

Strachan, from Edinburgh, started posting the messages in July 2011 and continued until he was caught in January this year. Police tracked him down after receiving complaints from other internet users.

The postings, made from his house and other locations in Edinburgh, abused various different racial groups.

Strachan was convicted of breaching the 1986 Public Order Act at a hearing last month.

Sheriff William Holligan him to 200 hours of community service.

Speaking after the case, the procurator fiscal for the East of Scotland, John Logue, welcomed the sentence.

Mr Logue said: “Police and prosecutors across the country take such offences extremely seriously. I hope this case sends a warning to those who think that offences committed on the internet are in some way immune from the reach of the law.

“Prejudice and hatred has no place in Scotland and we will continue to do all in our powers to eradicate it.”

STV

A man has been jailed for three months for dumping a pig’s head outside a mosque in Berkshire.

Rory Rowbottom, from Thatcham, left the animal’s head at the mosque on Pound Street in Newbury on 23 October.

Rowbottom pleaded guilty to one count of racially aggravated harassment and a section 4 public order offence at Reading Magistrates’ Court.

Ch Insp Lindsey Finch said his actions had left the community “distressed and horrified”.

Speaking after the hearing she said: “This was a particularly distressing crime, targeting a very respectful and close community in West Berkshire.”

Lucky Nizami, of the Newbury Mosque Committee, said: “The Muslim community is very tolerant of others’ beliefs, but hold several things very close to them; those are the Koran, the Prophet and the mosque.

“It was therefore beyond the understanding of the community why anyone would wish to insult them by directly attacking one of those, in this case the mosque.”

BBC News

edl_mergeTwo men who took part in a violent demonstration in Aylesbury town centre in May are the first members of the English Defence League (EDL) to be given a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order (CRASBO).

Richard Price, aged 41, of Stonehouse Lane, Birmingham (photo top), and Collum Keyes, aged 23, from Somerton Drive, Birmingham (photo bottom), were each granted a 10-year CRASBO at Aylesbury Crown Court today (17/12), after admitting public order offences stemming from an EDL demonstration on 1 May 2010.

The CRASBO was applied for jointly by Thames Valley Police and the National Domestic Extremism Unit, a national police unit.

Price admitted a charge of causing threatening behaviour while Keyes admitted a charge of disorderly conduct. At today’s court hearing they were issued with CRASBOs, which prevents them from attending any public meeting organised by the EDL. In addition Price was given a 12-week prison sentence while Keyes was ordered to pay a £150 fine and £85 court costs.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge The Lord Parmoor said: “On the evidence before me the only reason for this march and demonstration was to provoke some reaction in the local community, in particular the local Muslim community.

“Both Mr Keyes and Mr Price paid good money to travel to Aylesbury to partake in this event. I am persuaded that their only reason for doing so was to provoke, encourage and enjoy disorder.”

PC Mike Ellis, Thames Valley Police’s Anti-Social Behaviour Coordinator, who led the CRASBO case, said: “This is a clear signal to those who use violence and disorder to further their extreme and racist views to intimidate and create fear within minority communities.

“Their behaviour will not be tolerated within the Thames Valley Police area, and we will use whatever measures are available to us to tackle such people.”

Det Con Andy Haworth, of the National Domestic Extremism Unit, said: “We’re really pleased with today’s result which prevents two violent criminals from using Defence League demonstrations as a forum to commit violence and cause distress to others.

“While the Defence Leagues are legitimate protest organisations, violence has been a persistent feature of their demonstrations, and we hope the success of today’s application will prevent that violence.

“We will work to support all police forces with CRASBO applications against any who persistently commits criminal acts at Defence League demonstrations, regardless of whether they profess to support the Defence League or oppose it, in order to ensure future demonstrations are peaceful and lawful.”

The CRASBOs oblige Price and Keyes:
Not knowingly to organise, travel to, participate in, or control any march, demonstration, protest or similar event in the open air which takes place more than 10 miles from the centre of Birmingham.

Not knowingly to send or attempt to send any article, letter, fax or email that refers to, or seeks to promote or publicise, any march, demonstration, protest or similar event in the open air which takes place more than 10 miles from the centre of Birmingham.

Thames Valley Police

Henry Hunter

Henry Hunter

A teenager found guilty of violent disorder following an attack on Kingston Mosque has been spared jail.

Henry Hunter, 19, was convicted last month after a gang of young men laid siege to a mosque in East Road, having previously attended a protest march against Muslim extremism, in November 2010.

But he was acquitted of racially aggravated criminal damage.

At Kingston Crown Court this morning, Hunter, from Ashford in Middlesex, was sentenced to six months at a young offenders’ institute, suspended for 12 months.

He was fined £1,000, given 250 hours of unpaid work, and handed a four month curfew order banning him from leaving his home on Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights.

Hunter was also given an exclusion order banning him from Kingston town centre for a year.

Before the sentence was passed, Hunter’s solicitor Michael Green told Recorder Roderick Fletcher that Hunter was a young man of previous good character who had not been in trouble before or after the mosque attack.

Mr Green said Hunter’s attitude had changed considerably in the two years since the attack, and he was now also holding down a job as a fork lift truck driver.

He contrasted Hunter’s police record with those of Martin Pottle and Alfie Wallace, who, along with David Morris, were all jailed for the attack in April.

Mr Green said Pottle had four previous public order offences and had been sentenced to six months in prison for affray in 2010.

Wallace had convictions for violence, robbery, criminal damage, assaulting a police officer and racially aggravated offences.

Mr Green also pointed to the fact Hunter handed himself into the police voluntarily, after his picture appeared on the front page of the Surrey Comet in the wake of the convictions of Pottle, Wallace and Morris.

Mr Green said: “This is a young man who handed himself into a police station after his picture was published in the Surrey Comet on the same day.

“His attitudes have changed considerably, his personal circumstances have changed considerably.

“He hopes to be given the opportunity to carry on working. Things have changed in terms of his employment, and in terms of his attitude.

“There are no new offences. The author of the pre-sentence report has spoken to the police and there is no suggestion he has been involved in any previous activity.”

Sentencing Hunter, Recorder Fletcher said: “You surrendered voluntarily to the police, you are currently in employment and you have a stable home environment.

“You’ve made important changes to your lifestyle and attitude in the past two years.”

“I’ve felt able to take a different course in your case to the course taken regarding Mr Pottle and Mr Wallace.

“Mr Pottle was substantially older than you, and Mr Wallace was marginally older than you.

“Both were convicted of two offences – violent disorder and religiously aggravated damage to property and both had relevant previous convictions.

“In these circumstances I’ve taken what could be considered as an unusual course in relation to your sentence.”

Surrey Comet

English Defence League clash with anti-fascist groups in Manchester.
English Defence League clash with anti-fascist groups in Manchester.

AN English Defence League supporter has been fined for his role in the organisation’s October protest in Manchester city centre.

Lee Howarth, 24, from Milnrow in Rochdale, was arrested at Piccadilly Station on October 10, after shouting abuse and swearing at police officers. Hundreds of EDL supporters gathered on the day to demonstrate.

Manchester magistrates’ court heard yesterday how Howarth, who is unemployed, persisted in swearing at police despite repeatedly being told to ‘calm down’.

With his fists raised, Howarth responded: ‘Think you’re a big man? Make me.’

Howarth was drunk at the time.

Philip Lythgoe, defending, said Howarth accepts he swore but that it was in response to being ‘pushed around by police’.

Chairman of the bench, Iain Simms, said: ‘Police are there to do a job and you don’t expect them to be shouted and sworn at.’

Howarth pleaded guilty to a public order offence of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour and was fined a total of £100.

The EDL claims only to oppose radical Islam but supporters were seen at the October demonstrations making Nazi salutes.

Around 1,500 people joined a counter protest by Unite Against Fascism and the two sides faced-off for five hours, separated by police in riot gear and on horseback.

A total of 48 people were arrested during the day and the demonstration left the city with an £800,000 bill.

Manchester Evening News

A man has been sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment for his part in the disturbance which occurred during the English Defence League and Unite Against Fascism protests in the city centre.

Ryan Herbert (06/04/87) of Bland Road, New Parks, pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates Court last month to criminal damage to property and to a Section 4 public order offence. He was sentenced last week.

The incident happened on October 9, 2010, in Humberstone Gate East when damage was caused to windows at Fabrika Bar at the Arts Centre.

In Leicester

James Everley, James Smith and Joshua Morris were sentenced to three years for the arson attack

James Everley, James Smith and Joshua Morris were sentenced to three years for the arson attack

Three men have been sentenced for an arson attack on a newly-renovated mosque in West Sussex.

James Everley, 20, of Crawley, James Smith, 20, of Burgess Hill, and Joshua Morris, 20, of Haywards Heath, were all sentenced to three years at a young offenders institute.

The fire at the mosque in Wivelsfield Road, Haywards Heath, was started at about 02:10 GMT on 13 February.

Police believe the attack was a religiously-aggravated hate crime.

The men had pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court to arson, theft of paraffin and a public order offence, which involved racially or religiously aggravated fear of violence.

Ch Insp Jon Hull, district commander for Mid Sussex, said: “The mosque was occupied at the time this fire was started and it could have had devastating consequences if it hadn’t been put out quickly.

“Thankfully only damage was caused to the building.

“Everyone who lives, works or visits Sussex has a right to go about their lives without becoming the victim of a hate crime because of their disability, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The mosque had been renovated and had reopened three months before the attack

BBC News