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Suspended sentence

A soldier has been called a “disgrace” for posting offensive Facebook messages over the death of a three-year-old boy.

Warren Butler, 19, from Carlisle, was handed a 16-week sentence, suspended for 18 months and ordered to complete 250 hours community service.

Mikaeel Kular was found dead in Fife in January, after he was reported missing.

Grenadier Guard Butler, who is based at Aldershot barracks, Hampshire, admitted improper use of a communications network at an earlier hearing.

Basingstoke Magistrates heard Butler had been brought up in a “racist” family background.

‘Great disgrace’

He had been to several English Defence League (EDL) marches and had “liked” EDL and British National Party (BNP) pages on Facebook.

Within five minutes of him sending the message about Mikaeel Kular, it went viral.

Warren Butler received death threats after posting the offensive message

Warren Butler received death threats after posting the offensive message

Butler and several relatives received death threats.

District judge Phillip Gillibrand said: “People were appalled at seeing this sort of prejudice.

“It was cruel, disrespectful, and completely unjustified. You have much growing up to do.

“To post this Facebook entry with you standing there in full ceremonial uniform was a great disgrace, and brought the army into disrepute.”

Butler’s commanding officer, Capt James Stafford Allen told the court prior to the incident he had a “clean slate” in the army and was following a promising career.

Since his arrest, Butler has been kept “in camp” and not allowed to leave the army barracks for eight weeks.

He has had his mobile phone taken away and internet access withdrawn.

Capt Allen said the army was still to decide what disciplinary action to take.

Butler must also pay £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

Mikaeel Kular’s mother Rosdeep Kular, 33, has been charged with his murder.

BBC News

FOOTBALL hooligan Jeff Marsh has been banned from football grounds for five years after admitting affray.

The 44-year-old Cardiff City supporter was found in possession of a knuckleduster when he was arrested for affray outside the Ninian Park pub in Canton, Cardiff, last June.

The self-proclaimed hooligan, who has written two books about his exploits with the city’s infamous Soul Crew and is one of the organisers of the Welsh Defence League, was fighting with Celtic fans after the inaugural match between the teams at Cardiff’s new stadium.

Marsh, from Barry, admitted affray and possession of an offensive weapon at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court in January and was sentenced yesterday.

He was given a four-month suspended jail term, 150 hours’ community service and ordered to pay £600 costs.

He was given a full five-year football banning order that will prevent him attending any football matches for five years.

Detective Constable Simon Chivers, of the Football Intelligence Unit, who arrested Marsh last summer, said: “Jeff Marsh is a convicted football hooligan.

“Behaviour such as he exhibited on the night will not be tolerated by Cardiff City or the police and anyone indulging in that sort of behaviour will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law, prosecuted and banned.”

It is Marsh’s first football banning order as his previous convictions for football violence came before the 1990 Football Disorder Act which introduced the banning orders.

In 1989 he was convicted of grievous bodily harm for stabbing two Manchester United supporters in Cardiff and was jailed for two years. In 1986 he was also convicted of a football-related assault in Halifax.

Marsh is an organiser of the English and Welsh Defence Leagues which describe themselves as “a ready-made army” against Muslim fundamentalists.

There have been riots and arrests in English cities, including Birmingham and Luton, which have led to scores of arrests after the group has clashed with anti-fascist campaigners. There have also been marches in Wrexham and Swansea.

The groups have been described as “divisive” and “hate-based” by Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood.

Wales Online

From 2010

A gang launched a “completely and utterly disgraceful” racist attack on staff at a Cambridge restaurant in the wake of the Lee Rigby murder.

Mai Thai restaurant, Hobbs Pavilion, Park Terrace, Cambridge: Picture Keith Heppell

Mai Thai restaurant, Hobbs Pavilion, Park Terrace, Cambridge: Picture Keith Heppell

The five friends – three of whom have been locked up – chased and assaulted staff, threw glass bottles and bins and hurled racial abuse outside the Mai Thai restaurant by Parker’s Piece as they chanted “EDL”.

They goaded two brothers into coming outside before attacking them while shouting racist abuse on June 6 last year, a few days after the brutal murder of Fusilier Rigby in Woolwich.

The manager of the restaurant, who did not want to be named, told the News after the Cambridge Crown Court sentencing they attacked Muslim and Thai workers – and then turned on some of the 20 or so police officers who arrived on the scene.

He said: “It was very nasty. They attacked staff for no reason who were trying to get on with their work and shouted racial abuse, which was completely and utterly disgraceful.

“I’m glad they have been given these sentences. These are thugs who have got nothing better to do and hopefully this will teach them a lesson that it’s not something they can get away with.”

Marti Blair, prosecuting, said the offence started when one of the group tapped on the window of the restaurant and made aggressive gestures to staff as they were clearing up.

She said: “A member of staff thought it could be some sort of hate race incident and he called police, which was reasonable given the Lee Rigby killing had only just taken place a couple of weeks earlier and there had followed a number of race hate attacks at that time.”

She described how some of the gang started pushing two members of staff, leaving the brothers with damaged ribs and ripped shirts.

They then threw glass bottles and bins at the door while chanting the far right group’s name and demanding they “go home”.

She said: “All of the witnesses describe how the group were chanting EDL and saying things like ‘go back to your country’.”

Joshua Collinson-Prime, 19, formerly of Victoria Road, Arbury, William Jacey, 21, of Brampton Road, Royston, and a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, all admitted violent disorder.

Leon Jackson, 24, and Daniel Mooney, 20, both of Gonville Place, Trumpington, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of racially aggravated threatening behaviour.

Jacey was jailed for a year, Collinson-Prime was sent to a youth offenders’ institution for a year and the youth was given a one-year detention and training order.

Jackson and Mooney were each given eight-month jail sentences suspended for two years and must do 200 hours of unpaid work. The young group have nearly 40 previous convictions between them.

Judge Gareth Hawkesworth, sentencing at Cambridge Crown Court, described it as a “thoroughly unpleasant racist attack” and added: “It will simply not be tolerated.”

One of the victims said in a statement read out in court that he was still scared for his safety.

He said: “These people know where I work and clearly have an issue with me and the colour of my skin and this is not an issue that is going to go away.”

Cambridge News

The day of reckoning came for nine more yobs who took part in an English Defence League protest in Walsall town centre that escalated into violence.

Eight men were jailed by a judge yesterday, while an 18-year-old who was a youth at the time was spared an immediate prison term.

It follows prison sentences on Monday for seven men who took part in the same protest. More thugs were being sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court today.

Yesterday, the court heard how Dean Lidster kicked out at a police dog. He was among others who broke up a wooden table outside the Wetherspoon’s pub in the town and picked up pieces of a ceramic pot. The 44-year-old of London hurled the pieces over the police line. He was put behind bars for 28 months.

Mark Conway spat at police officers and launched a fly kick. He initially denied his involvement but changed his plea ahead of trial. The 35-year-old, of no fixed address, was jailed for 30 months. Thomas Schofield, defending, said he had seen trying to pacify the situation.

“He has not been involved in a disorder of this kind before. There is genuine remorse from this defendant,” he said.

Christopher Jelley, of Broadway Close, Shrewsbury, who served in the Army, was seen trying to square up to a female officer. He had gestured using his finger across the throat. Judge Nicholas Webb gave him to 22 months.

Benjamin Banfield, 35, of Cobhorn Drive, Bristol, squared up to officers and was kicking out and spitting. He threw missiles and was shouting. Banfield was handed a 20-month term.

Samuel Phipps, 18, of Lingfield Drive, Great Wyrley, avoided an immediate 16 months detention as it was suspended for two years. He was ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.

Patrick Currie, defending, said the teenager was 17 at the time of the offence. The former Army Cadet had dreams of serving as a soldier before a severe knee injury. He has since gone on to an engineering course at the University of Wolverhampton. Mr Patrick Currie, defending, said: “This was a young man who behaved totally out of character.”

Judge Webb, accepting Phipps had been influenced towards the EDL by someone else, said: “ You have been very, very lucky you have escaped custody by the skin of your teeth.”

They all admitted their involvement and offences of violent disorder. Four more men who were convicted of violent disorder following a trial were also sentenced.

They included Dean Smith, of Brunswick Park Road, Wednesbury, who was said to be at the ‘forefront’ of the action although he didn’t throw or chant anything. He received 27 months.

Express & Star

A father-of-three has been spared jail after assaulting a man and his teenage son with a paving slab as they walked to their mosque.

Shaun Wilkinson, 25, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated assault after unleashing a barrage of vile racist abuse at the men as they walked down Thompson Street, Preston.

Preston Crown Court heard Wilkinson, of Slaidburn Road, Ribbleton, saw the father and his 14-year-old son approaching and said “watch this” to his girlfriend. As they walked past, Wilkinson punched the father in his face.

The son stepped in to try and help his father, grappling Wilkinson to the ground. However, Wilkinson got up and threw a piece of paving stone, hitting the youngster in the forehead.

Rachel Faux, prosecuting, told the court: “(The father) asked what the problem was and received a barrage of verbal abuse.

“As the father waited for the police to be called there was further abuse from females on the street.”

The police arrived and arrested Wilkinson he continued making racist comments.

During the attack the father’s diabetes flared up and he was taken to hospital with his son.

In a victim impact statement, he said: “The incident has affected me and my son and all our family very badly.

“Before this incident I always used to walk to mosque by walking the same way but now I go to mosque by car.”

Daniel Prowse, defending Wilkinson, said: “This was an extremely ugly incident of gratuitous violence and racist language – something Shaun Wilkinson finds it difficult to comprehend he would even do.”

Shaun Wilkinson - EDL

Shaun Wilkinson – EDL. Courtesy of Islamophobiawatch.co.uk

He said Wilkinson worked with a number of Asian people and felt a sense of “deep shame” about his behaviour.

Wilkinson has a criminal record but Mr Prowse said he has tried very hard to put the past behind him and had stayed out of trouble for four years before the attack.

Wilkinson was handed a 14 month sentence suspended for 18 months with a curfew between 9pm and 8am for six months.

He must also carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and pay his victims £500 compensation each.

Lancashire Evening Post

MEMBERS of the public were forced to cower as football yobs from a gang known as the Sunderland Youth Firm clashed with rival fans in the city centre.

CCTV footage of the organised mass brawl, outside the Revolution bar in Low Row, shows punches and kicks being thrown while bottles were being broken, leaving the pavements covered in shards of glass.

One witness told police they felt “sick to the stomach” by what they saw that day.

Troublemakers then boasted about the violence with West Ham fans, via social networking sites and text messages.

Videos of the fight were also posted on video-sharing website YouTube.

Newcastle Crown Court heard members of the public looked on in fear and were worried for the safety of their children, when the afternoon trouble broke out ahead of the match on January 12.

The yobs were spared jail, but handed football banning orders for three years.

Judge Jeremy Freedman told them: “Football is a source of pleasure to literally millions of people.

“What football hooliganism of the type you engaged in does, is besmirch the good name of football and deter people from going to matches, particularly parents who want to take young children, lest they get caught up in scenes of violence.

“Members of the public can reasonably expect to enjoy the amenities of the town centre without being exposed to this kind of frightening activity.”

Prosecutor Robert Adams told the court the violence itself lasted only about three minutes, by which time police arrived. Mobile phones were seized when the gang was arrested.

Nobody reported any serious injury.

Mr Adams told the court: “It is the Crown’s case that all of the defendants were involved, to some extent in any event, with an organisation self-named the Sunderland Youth Firm.”

Mr Adams said the seized mobile phones showed a series of text message exchanges and boasts on social networking sites both before and after the trouble.

One message said: “Anyone who comes to our city doesn’t leave without a good clip.” Another message, relating to a future game, said: “What are they going to do? Get punched from one end of Sunderland to the other.”

As well as the written messages, the court heard the phones contained pictures and videos of the violence that day.

One of the men declared he “loves football hooliganism” on his Twitter biography.

The court heard the men are not heavily convicted and come from respectable backgrounds.

Defence barrister Christopher Knox said: “The reality is, as soon as the police arrived, everybody ran away.”

Sunderland Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth, said: “There is no place for violence at football matches and we will always do everything possible to make sure those suspected of being involved are traced and put before the courts.”

Football hooligans named and shamed

Lewis Dodsworth, 19, of Bowburn Avenue, Wear View, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 250 hours’ unpaid work.

Bradley Dixon, 19, of Patton Road, Plains Farm, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with £1,000 costs.

Thomas Kelly, 19, of Eighth Avenue, Chester-le-Street, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and 250 hours’ unpaid work.

Former EDL member Anthony Smith, 26, of Purvis Terrace, Trimdon, who claimed to love hooliganism on his Twitter page, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and 250 hours’ unpaid work.

Connor McCoy, 21, of Perth Avenue, Jarrow, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 250 hours’ unpaid work and 12 months supervision.

Paratrooper Jamie Phenny, 21, of The Spinney, Bridgend, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with £1,000 costs.

Christopher Webb, 24, of East Herrington, Sunderland, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and an alcohol treatment programme.

All pleaded guilty to a charge of violent disorder at an earlier hearing.

Sunderland Echo

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A trio of men arrested in connection with a major national demonstration by a controversial far right-wing group in Exeter have appeared in court.

Kurtis Coyle, Daniel Holmes and Steven Hart were brought before Exeter Magistrates today following the English Defence League (EDL) march in the city on November 16.

Coyle, 21 from Heavitree, was given a suspended prison sentence of four weeks after he admitted the possession of a knuckle duster in the The Chevalier Inn, Fore Street as well as the possession of a class A drug.

He claimed he was planning to take the weapon “to a mate’s house” after apparently buying it online for £10, the court heard.

Coyle was ordered him to pay costs of £165, and was told the drugs – 1.4g of cocaine – would be destroyed.

Daniel Holmes, 30 from Exwick, issued no plea after being charged with the possession of a knife on Queen Street. He was granted unconditional bail and his case will be heard at Exeter Crown Court on January 3.

Steven Hart, 48, from the Pinhoe area of Exeter, was given a custodial discharge of six months after admitting being drunk in a public place.

Hart, who was described as a “long-term alcoholic”, was found lying down on a pavement under the influence of alcohol and unable to stand unassisted, the court heard.

A fourth man arrested – a 49-year-old Surrey man – had been given a fixed penalty notice for being drunk and disorderly in the city centre on November 15.

Chief Inspector Jim Gales, of Devon and Cornwall Police, described the day as a “success” for the force.

“We had to intervene at times to prevent outbreaks of disorder, making a very small number of arrests,” he said.

“But what we [were] able to do [was] to facilitate peaceful demonstrations and allow the inhabitants of Exeter to go about their daily business safely.”

More than 200 people travelled from across the country for the EDL march and rally in the city centre.

But a total of 1,000 people, under the banner of Exeter Together, paraded down the streets earlier in the day and gathered for a rally to condemn the group.

A mounted police unit from South Wales were among a total of 400 officers from as far away as Birmingham who were tasked with patrolling activities.

City centre manager John Harvey described the police operation as “excellent”, saying the force ensured it remained “business as normal”.

“It could have been a day that tarnished the city, but actually it enhanced its reputation. On lots of levels, we can be very proud,” he added.

Some 225 EDL supporters gathered at the Locomotive pub on New North Road before marching along the road, down Queen Street to Rougemont Gardens flanked by police.

Angry exchanges took place between opponents and protestors who chanted “You’re English no more” and “whose streets, our streets” as they marched.

Two protestors donned burqas – traditional Islamic dress – and were seen to imitate Muslim prayer in the middle of a street.

Exeter News & Echo