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Laura Heywood begged magistrates not to send her to custody but they were appalled by her ‘horrendous’ record

A woman who hurled racist abuse at takeaway staff and a police officer has been jailed despite begging magistrates to give her another chance.

Laura Heywood blamed her “abusive and controlling” boyfriend for the heavy drug abuse which led to her offending.

Appearing live via a video link from HMP New Hall, the 24-year-old pleaded with Kirklees magistrates not to hand her a custodial sentence after pleading guilty to a string of charges.

She told them: “I’m begging you to take this risk on me – please don’t send me to prison.”

But magistrates were unmoved to grant her request after hearing details of offences including her vile abuse of two takeaway workers – one a teenage boy- where she threw cans of drink at them.

The incident at Dixxi Express in Batley happened on May 4 last year.

Drunk Heywood was at the nearby bus station with a friend and they walked into the St James Street takeaway.

Prosecutor Alex Bozman said: “They were racially abusive to two staff members, describing them as ‘P**i b******s’.

“Cans were then thrown at both gentlemen, hitting them and the contents spilling all over their clothing.

“One of the staff members was 16 and shocked to be assaulted at his place of work as he’d never experienced anything like that before.

“The other victim said that he was angry and that it was an unprovoked attack and there was no reason why they’d been targeted.”

Police were called and caught Heywood and her friend trying to board a bus. Heywood was described as aggressive and refusing to leave the vehicle.

When she was finally put into the police van she directed racist abuse to a female officer during the journey, calling her a ‘black b****d’ and’ n****r’ and telling her: “You’d be used as a footstool.”

Mr Bozman said: “The officer found her attitude and insults rather vile and stated that nobody has the right or authority to aim abuse at her.”

Magistrates were told about another incident at Laurel Drive in Birstall on June 3.

The victim had parked her Ford Fiesta there to visit a friend when Heywood came out into the street carrying a bottle of fizzy drink.

She shouted: “Whose is this car?” and she replied that it belonged to her. Heywood responded: “I don’t give a f**k anyway, I’m going to put it through.” She then threw the bottle at the vehicle, causing a dent.

Heywood went on to damage a police vehicle on November 6 when they were responding to reports of a domestic incident at an address in Common Road in Batley.

As her boyfriend was arrested from the property she picked up an item and threw it at a marked police car, causing a dent in the vehicle.

Then on December 30 Heywood was caught stealing a bottle of wine from the Hanging Heaton Food Store.

She pleaded guilty to two charges of racially-aggravated assault, racially-aggravated harassment, two counts of criminal damage, theft from a shop, being drunk and disorderly in public, three charges of failing to surrender to court and committing a further offence while subject to a conditional discharge.

Her solicitor Paul Blanchard described her as having a Jekyll and Hyde personality, adding that alcohol she consumed at the time of the offences would have clouded her judgement.

He explained: “The background to her most recent offending is combined with a relationship she has formed and during the relationship she has become involved in the consumption of Class A drugs.

“She’s made some ridiculously bad decisions and doesn’t deal with situations well.

“She hasn’t dealt with her child being adopted and resorted to the consumption of alcohol to block out the reality of situations.

“She’s a lovely, lovely person but has got her demons which unfortunately at times come to the top.

“Something has to change but the only person who can change is Laura Heywood.”

Heywood read a letter to the court in which she pleaded with magistrates not to jail her.

She said: “I know I need to grow up and sort my life out. I just need some support.

“I’ve now got out of my controlling and violent relationship and I’m begging you to take this risk on me.

“I know I’ve got a long, hard journey but I know I can do it. Please let me prove you wrong and make my family proud.”

But bench chairwoman Kathryn Beney slammed her ‘horrendous record’ and said she and her colleagues felt that custody was their only option.

They jailed Heywood, of Laurel Drive in Batley, for a total of 24 weeks.

Upon her release she will have to pay £100 to both of the takeaway employees she assaulted and abused.

Huddersfield Examiner

Terence Gavan pleaded guilty to 22 charges

Terence Gavan pleaded guilty to 22 charges



A man who admitted making nail bombs at his West Yorkshire home has been jailed for 11 years.

Terence Gavan, 38, who the Old Bailey heard showed a strong hostility towards immigrants, was arrested by police in a raid at his home in May 2009.

The bus driver’s arsenal of weapons and explosives included home-made shotguns, pen guns and pistols.

Gavan, from Batley, also pleaded guilty to six counts of having or collecting documents useful in terrorism.

Sentencing Gavan, Mr Justice Calvert-Smith said his case was “unique” because of his long and persistent manufacture of guns and explosives.

Gavan, who the court heard was a former member of the BNP, pleaded guilty to 22 charges at Woolwich Crown Court in November.

Police discovered 12 firearms and 54 improvised explosive devices, which included nail bombs and a booby-trapped cigarette packet, at the home Gavan shared with his mother.

He told detectives he had “a fascination with things that go bang”, the Old Bailey heard.

After the case, head of the North East Counter Terrorism Unit Det Ch Supt David Buxton said Gavan posed a significant risk to public safety.

“Gavan was an extremely dangerous and unpredictable individual,” he said.

“The sheer volume of home-made firearms and grenades found in his bedroom exposed his obsession with weapons and explosives.

“However, he was not simply a harmless enthusiast.

“Gavan used his extensive knowledge to manufacture and accumulate devices capable of causing significant injury or harm.”

A BNP spokesman would not comment on whether Gavan had been a member of the party.

But he told BBC News that Gavan’s offences were “serious” and the sentence given to him was “correct”.

BBC News

AN ENGLISH Defence League demonstrator who was at the forefront of a group which broke police lines has been jailed for 16 months.

Mark Doel became involved in violence at the demonstration in Hanley city centre on Saturday, January 23

Prosecutor Paul Spratt told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday that at about 1.30pm, items were being thrown at police including glass bottles, cans and a smoke cannister.

“About 100 people had broken free from the group being cordoned to come round the rear of the police lines,” said Mr Spratt.

“A police dog handler became aware of a group of men at the rear of the police unit.

“He then saw the defendant run to the front and shout abuse at the officers.

“He (Doel) kicked out to the back of a slightly built female officer and punched her to her helmet, causing her to fall to the ground.

“She was later assaulted by another individual and was kicked and stamped on.”

The court heard the police dog took hold of the defendant. He kicked out and struck the dog and others tried to drag him back into the crowd.

But the dog maintained its grip and Doel was arrested.

In his police interview, he admitted being present at the demonstration but denied violent disorder and assaulting a police officer.

He pleaded guilty to affray at an earlier hearing.

The pleas were accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Peter McCartney, for the defence, said Doel was not a member of the EDL and visited the Potteries on the invitation of a friend.

He said the 43-year-old, who has numerous convictions for violence and disorder but none for 15 years, regrets getting into trouble.

“It was the first demonstration he has attended,” said Mr McCartney. “He came along. He did not intend to involve himself in violence, but the situation carried him along and he did get involved.”

Judge Granville Styler said an immediate custodial sentence had to be passed.

“This was a very serious matter,” the judge told Doel, a father-of-one from Primrose Hill, Batley, West Yorkshire.

“You travelled to Stoke-on-Trent and, I take the view, you travelled in order to take part in a demonstration. You consumed five pints of lager.

“You knew the police were having difficulties restraining an increasingly violent crowd.

“You were at the forefront of a breakaway group. You attacked a policewoman from behind and knocked her to the ground. It was an extremely dangerous situation. And it encouraged others to attack this officer while on the ground, and she was stamped on.

“It is clear to me you have not put your violent past behind you.”

Judge Styler said he would like the Chief Constable to commend the dog handler for his bravery.

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