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William ‘Billy’ Charlton, of Washington, was branded a manipulative bully by a judge as he was locked up for stirring up racial hatred

Unrepentant racist bully Billy Charlton shouted at jurors “I hope your daughters don’t get raped” and gave his supporters the thumbs up as he was jailed for spreading his toxic lies in a series of public speeches.

Vile and manipulative Charlton hid behind the cloak of respectability of wanting to protect women and children from sexual assault but his true intention was to disseminate hate-filled falsehoods about immigrants, Asians, black people and the police.

The 55-year-old, of Byland Court, Glebe, Washington , was convicted on Thursday of five counts of stirring up racial hatred after a series of speeches in Sunderland.

He was brought back to Newcastle Crown Court on Friday to be sentenced and five members of the jury returned to watch the conclusion of the case.

After spending most of the hearing staring intently at them, he shouted the vile comment towards the four women and a man as he was led away to prison and was told by a judge: “Just leave Mr Charlton”.

He then clapped his hands and gave the thumbs up to his supporters in the public gallery, who clapped as he was taken out of the dock to start a 21 month jail sentence.

Judge Edward Bindloss told him: “Over this three-and-a-half week trial you have been revealed as an intelligent, articulate, skilled public speaker but also a manipulator and bully, in my judgement.”

The judge said Charlton had used an allegation of rape, kidnap and drugging by a female – which was investigated and which police found insufficient evidence of – to spread his racist lies.

“You propelled the campaign (for the female) with rhetoric and misrepresentation and, the jury has found, with racist hatred,” Judge Bindloss said.

Charlton had been warned by senior police officers the comments he was making about the female were wrong, counter-productive and doing damage to the community.

Despite the fact more than 80% of sexual offending in Sunderland was committed by white men, the judge said: “In the five speeches, you conflated all immigrants with rapes and sexually offending, thus peddling racist hatred basted around falsehoods.”

The five speeches took place between November 2016 and July 2017 and drew bigger and bigger crowds, forcing hundreds of police officers to be diverted from their usual duties.

At one event, 800 people were present, including 32 Hells Angels.

Judge Bindloss told him: “Time and again you associated immigrants with sexual offending. This is a pernicious form of racial hatred.”

The judge said freedom of speech is a “fundamental freedom” and told him Charlton: “This is not about politics, it’s about the law. I’ve sought to keep the law and politics separate.

“You are not on trial for your political views or being a member of any party.

“Even your anti-imimigration views, you are entitled to hold.

“The jury has found your speeches were intended to or likely to stir up racial hatred.

“The speeches contributed to a toxic atmosphere by you stirring up racial hatred.”

The court heard that while Charlton was not responsible for them, a number of race-hate incidents were happening in Sunderland around the time of the speeches.

An Asian family had a brick thrown through their window with a note attached containing racist abuse and signed “EDL forever”.

Racist graffiti also appeared and a man was arrested wearing a T-shirt with an anti-Muslim T-shirt slogan.

The court heard Charlton had a previous conviction from 2007 for racially aggravated harassment, for which he was fined.

During his trial, jurors were told about footage from a “white man march” on Newcastle Quayside at which Charlton spoke.

The footage showed other people chanting things such as “white power”, “Hitler was right” “sieg heil” and “keep it white”, the court heard.

At one of the events, Charlton appeared alongside far right extremist Tommy Robinson.

Charlton also made sickening references to the Grenfell Tower fire – saying “it’s not cheap cladding that raped (a female)” and adding it’s “immigrants who are a threat to our children”.

Glenn Gatland, defending, said Charlton had what he considered to be genuine concerns and frustrations which had “boiled over into what can only be described by the jury as racism” and had “overstepped the mark”.

Mr Gatland added: “It’s not a case like Abu Hamza where people are preaching outright hatred on the grounds of racism.

“It starts with a genuine complaint and concern. There are genuine concerns about what he perceives to be a cover up by the police, rightly or wrongly.”

Mr Gatland added that Charlton is “not in particularly good health”, had to give up work because of problems with his knees and will find prison difficult.

He added: “He is extremely upset his 92-year-old mother is not very well, she will not be able to visit him.”

After the case, Chief Inspector Sam Rennison, of Northumbria Police, said Charlton’s actions were an attempt to fuel “hatred and unrest” in the city.

“Freedom of speech is an important element of modern society which we all advocate, but spreading hate and racism is totally unacceptable,” Ch Insp Rennison said.

“Billy Charlton attempted to disguise his racist agenda under a cloak of respectability by claiming to want to protect the women of Sunderland.

“He knowingly targeted a number of ethnic groups and immigrants at high-profile marches in the city centre, and in doing so, stirred up hatred.

“He then pushed that personal agenda further by circulating misinformation on social media for his own gain.

“However, today his calculated behaviour and attempts to spread hatred and unrest in our community have been laid bare.

“We must do all we can to stamp out racism and the spreading of hate. As a Force, we are committed to tackling all forms of extremism which has the potential to threaten the safety and security of the public.

“I am glad that the jury understood and recognised the seriousness of Charlton’s crimes, and he must now deal with the consequences of his actions.”

The Chronicle

William ‘Billy’ Charlton, of Washington, pretended to be wanting to protect women but his true intention was to spread race hate

A vile protester is behind bars after he was convicted of stirring up racial hatred with poisonous lies during a series of public speeches.

William “Billy” Charlton, who spoke alongside far right extremist Tommy Robinson, hid behind the cloak of respectability of wanting to protect women from sexual assault.

But his true intention was to disseminate hate-filled falsehoods about immigrants, Asians, black people and the police, a court heard.

Prosecutors said his words sparked incidents of violence and damage by others attending the marches, including an occasion in which two innocent Asian men were attacked by a group of white men.

During his trial, jurors were told about footage from a “white man march” on Newcastle Quayside at which Charlton spoke.

The footage showed other people chanting things such as “white power”, “Hitler was right” “sieg heil” and “keep it white”, the court heard.

Charlton, 55, of Byland Court, Glebe, Washington , also made sickening references to the Grenfell Tower fire – saying “it’s not cheap cladding that raped (a female)” and adding it’s “immigrants who are a threat to our children”.

He was found guilty of five charges of stirring up racial hatred and faces a prison sentence.

He was remanded in custody ahead of being sentenced on Friday – despite pleading that he had a dog at home on its own.

During the trial, Sharon Beattie, prosecuting, told jurors about a number of speeches Charlton gave around the theme of the protection of women from sexual assault.

She said: “This was his cause and his motivation, as he described it, to protect women in Sunderland from rape and sexual violence.

“No one, one would hope, would argue against that but in reality, say the prosecution, this was an excuse because Mr Charlton is an intelligent man and a good speaker and this supposed cause was hiding his true intention under a cloak of respectability.

“His true intentions, say the prosecution, were to stir people up against immigrants, Asians, black people and the police.”

Miss Beattie said jurors would have to consider the issue of free speech but added that it is not free speech if it is an offence.

She told the jury: “Mr Charlton is not prosecuted for speaking in public, he is being prosecuted for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, intending to stir up racial hatred.”

The court heard that following some of the speeches, there were incidents of graffiti and property being damaged. One property was attack where it was believed a rapist lived but in fact others lived there.

In another incident, an Asian man who happened to live in a particular area, was attacked and when his nephew came to help him, he was also beaten up, the court heard.

Miss Beattie said: “This violence was from people who had been listening to the speech and were involved in a march which preceded it.”

The prosecutor said when one woman attended a demonstration with a placard saying “rape doesn’t have a race”, she had to be escorted away by police for her own protection because of the reaction of the crowd.

Charlton is said to have posted a picture of her on Facebook calling her an idiot.

Miss Beattie said the five charges “arise out of a series of speeches by Billy Charlton” which were streamed on Facebook and picked up by Rebel Media, “used by or linked to Tommy Robinson”.

The jury were told about one march in Sunderland , organised after allegations surfaced about three Turkish men, during which Charlton is alleged to have said: “Standing in Sunderland city centre feels like I’m in Bangladesh” and made reference to “imported rapists”.

In another speech he said “these people who are guests in my town raping and drugging our women, they are monsters, there’s something wrong in this town”.

The court heard Charlton denied being racist but, Miss Beattie said: “He said he doesn’t care about the colour of anyone’s skin but he doesn’t address any other issue other than immigrants.

“85% of people arrested for sexual offences are white in Sunderland – he doesn’t address that either.”

Charlton is also said to have criticised Northumbria Police, saying at one march, in reference to the force’s slogan “proud to protect”: “Proud to protect. Not your children, they are not. Not my children they are not. Who are they protecting?” The crowd responded: “Immigrants.”

Prosecutors say his verbal attacks on the police were designed to tell people the police couldn’t protect them so they had to protect themselves.

Referring to a Facebook post about an allegation made by a woman, Miss Beattie told jurors: “The prosecution say Mr Charlton was not genuinely motivated by concern in relation to these women, he was motivated by an agenda relating to immigrants.

“He was stirring up racial hatred.”

At another march, he is said to have told the crowd his and their children and women “deserve protection from these immigrants”, the court heard.

The court heard about comments Charlton is said to have made to a police superintendent, a month after the Grenfell fire, saying it was “not cheap cladding that raped (a female)”, adding “it’s immigrants who are a threat to our children.”

Miss Beattie said in May 2017, a young student in Sunderland city centre witnessed Charlton abusing Asian people, saying: “Get out of my Sunderland, get out, this is my country.”

The prosecutor told the jury: “There was no suggestion they were committing sexual offences so why would he be shouting at these two males.

“That, say the prosecution, is his real agenda.”

The Chronicle

A police officer whose team helped convict a man of inciting racial hatred during Sunderland city centre demos has said his actions were “totally unacceptable.”


William Charlton, 55, known as Billy, spoke at a number of public rallies between November 2016 and July 2017 after a woman reported she had been raped in the city.

Northumbria Police say that attempting to disguise his personal agenda under a “cloak of respectability”, Charlton used the demonstrations to attack ethnic minority groups and immigrants with racial slurs and insults.

Charlton denied five charges of inciting racial hatred but was today, Thursday, September 26, found guilty of all offences by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

Chief Inspector Sam Rennison said Charlton’s actions were an attempt to fuel “hatred and unrest” in the city.

“Freedom of speech is an important element of modern society which we all advocate, but spreading hate and racism is totally unacceptable,” Ch Insp Rennison said.

“Billy Charlton attempted to disguise his racist agenda under a cloak of respectability by claiming to want to protect the women of Sunderland.

“He knowingly targeted a number of ethnic groups and immigrants at high-profile marches in the city centre, and in doing so, stirred up hatred.

“He then pushed that personal agenda further by circulating misinformation on social media for his own gain.

“However, today his calculated behaviour and attempts to spread hatred and unrest in our community have been laid bare.

“We must do all we can to stamp out racism and the spreading of hate.

“As a force, we are committed to tackling all forms of extremism which has the potential to threaten the safety and security of the public.

“I am glad that the jury understood and recognised the seriousness of Charlton’s crimes, and he must now deal with the consequences of his actions.”

Charlton, of Byland Court, Washington, insisted throughout the three-week trial that he did not intend to stir up hate and is not racist.

He was remanded in custody following his conviction and is due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court tomorrow morning, Friday, September 27.

Sunderland Echo