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A RIOTER told police he wore a balaclava to imitate someone in a burkha during the trouble that broke out during a march in memory of murdered soldier Lee Rigby.

Craig Oakley, 41, joined a march the judge described as little more than a “pub crawl” for men aged between 18 and 35 – some of whom were members of the English Defence League,

The march was organised in Kingswood via social-networking website Facebook following the death of Drummer Rigby in Woolwich, London on May 22.

What started as a relatively peaceful event, with some 20 to 30 people involved, became fractious and resulted in police ‘kettling’ the group, that by then had swollen to around 60 people, in St George’s Hall pub in Redfield.

oakley

During that time Oakley, a security guard, was filmed by police chanting, helping build the barricade of tables and chairs in the pub and kicking out at an police officer.

The married father-of-two of Nover’s Lane, Knowle was arrested and later admitted affray.

At Bristol Crown Court he was given a five-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months with 100 hours unpaid work and must pay a £80 victim surcharge.

Richard Posner, prosecuting, said police quickly realised what had been organised as a family event was nothing of the sort and extra officers were called in.

After they saw Oakley had kicked out at a police officer and helped build the barricade in the pub he was arrested and a balaclava was found in his jeans pocket.

“He had put that balaclava on and made gestures at police officers,” Mr Posner said.

“He said he did so to imitate the wearing of a burkha. They could not say if he was shouting racist abuse.”

Mr Posner said Oakley was quick to apologise for his actions and was seen to be ashamed and embarrassed that he had let his family down.

Robert Morgan-Jones, for Oakley, made it clear there was no evidence his client was a member of the EDL, had hurled racist abuse or thrown bottles at police officers.

He added that there was substantial evidence of Oakley pulling back protesters who were attacking police and he had kicked out in a “moment of madness.”

Mr Morgan-Jones conceded Oakley’s explanation for wearing the balaclava was “ridiculous” but denied he had it there to conceal his identity.

“It speaks more of a lack of thought and stupidity than anything pre-planned,” he said.

Mr Morgan-Jones said Oakley had written a letter expressing his remorse before he was even interviewed, and he had paid a heavy price because he had been unable to get his licence from the Security Industry Authority because of his actions.

Recorder David Evans told Oakley: “You chose to take part in this event and stayed with the marchers for the duration once you had joined them. That meant going to various pubs and drinking alcohol with the group getting increasingly rowdy.

“It has been said on your behalf that kicking out at police was a moment of madness but I’m afraid I don’t agree.

“No one required you to go out drinking or to be at the forefront of the group. It was not a moment of madness, it was a moment of utterly unneeded drunken aggression.

“While wearing the balaclava is not an act of violence it is an aggravating feature and could only have been taken with you on the march with a particular intention.”


Bristol Post

Disorder followed a walk raising money for the Help for Heroes charity, and in memory of murdered drummer Lee Rigby, in Bristol last month.

Disorder followed a walk raising money for the Help for Heroes charity, and in memory of murdered drummer Lee Rigby, in Bristol last month.

Paul Lloyd, a family man involved in riots that followed the murder of soldier Lee Rigby has been given a suspended jail term.

Paul Lloyd was singled out from a group of men who clashed with police when a supposed peace walk turned violent, Bristol Crown Court heard.

The court was told members of the English Defence League, as well as supporters of United Against Fascists, converged in Kingswood for the social- media-sparked event.

Police arrested Lloyd in a melee that resulted and spotted him mouthing “EDL” during a stand-off in a pub in St George, the court heard.

Lloyd, 39, of Little Stoke, pleaded guilty to threatening unlawful violence The judge handed Lloyd a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 200 hours of unpaid work. He was ordered to pay £150 prosecution costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

Bristol Post

A RACIST thug downed more than 15 pints and numerous shots before abusing Asian taxi drivers and smashing a taxi window.

When police asked Jamie Takle how he thought the drivers felt about being racially abused, he replied: “To be honest I vote BNP – what does that tell you? They should all go back to their own country.”

Takle, of Aldwick Avenue, Hartcliffe, had been so aggressive on the night in question that a police officer had to spray CS gas in his face to arrest him.

The 23-year-old appeared at Bristol Magistrates’ Court yesterday to be sentenced after pleading guilty to three counts of racially aggravated harassment, one of racially aggravated criminal damage and one of harassment on December 24 last year.

Paul Ricketts, prosecuting, said Takle had been drinking at several pubs with friends including the Hartcliffe Inn and Three Lions in Bedminster by which time he had consumed nine pints of cider.

Later Takle went into town and headed to Antix on Park Street where he continued to down pints and shots, Mr Ricketts said.

“The defendant left the club and walked down Park Street where he flagged down a taxi,” he said.

“There was then a dispute about a fare and the taxi driver was subjected to racist abuse.

“The defendant then removed his belt, wrapped it around his fist and punched the side window with the buckle causing it to smash.”

Mr Ricketts said a second taxi – in which the occupants were also Asian – witnessed the incident and were also racially abused by Takle.

Mr Ricketts said: “Police arrived a short time later and the defendant made off resulting in a short chase.

“The defendant still had the belt wrapped around his hand. The defendant moved towards the police officer who deployed CS gas spray and the defendant was arrested.

“In interview the following afternoon he was asked how he thought the victims of his abuse would feel.

“He replied ‘To be honest I vote BNP – what does that tell you?

“They should all go back to their own country.”

Mr Ricketts added that the first taxi driver was strongly offended and felt he should not have to put up with abuse while he was at work.

John Search, defending, said it was only right that Takle was assessed by the probation service so they could address concerns about his alcohol abuse and racism issues.

Takle will be sentenced on March 23. He was released on bail.

This is Bristol

A racist thug who stuffed ham into the shoes of Muslim worshippers at a mosque has escaped a jail term.

Jamie Knowlson, 30, also draped slices of the meat – which Muslims are banned from eating – on railings outside the mosque as his victims prayed inside.

He was then caught on CCTV hurling abuse at worshippers after they confronted him over his sacrilegious act.

Islam teaches its followers to avoid pig meat as it makes them impure and unclean.

Knowlson initially told police the stunt was a drunken joke but later admitted that he was fully aware of the offence his actions would cause.

He pleaded guilty to causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment and could have been jailed for up to two years.

But walked free from Bristol Crown Court with a suspended six-month prison sentence because he had returned to the mosque to apologise for his actions.

Sentencing, Her Honour Judge Carol Hagen said: ‘It is difficult to imagine a more offensive incident.

‘Not only the fixing of meat to railings but aggravated, in my view, that members of the mosque were inside praying at the time.’

The court heard that Knowlson, from Kingswood, Bristol, targeted the Al-Baseera mosque in the St Judes area of the city which is used by more than 2,000 Somali Muslims every week.

He crept to the mosque from nearby Redwood House homeless shelter on January 9 this year – putting ham in footwear and on railings outside the building as worshippers prayed.

CCTV footage showed him returning to the shelter, where he was confronted by the mosque’s caretaker Abdi Djmaa.

As Mr Djmaa returned to the mosque he heard shouts of ‘the next visit will be harder’, ‘bad meat’ and ‘girls’ coming from the direction of the building

David Hunter, prosecuting at Bristol Crown Court, said it had been a premeditated attack specifically targeted at the Muslim community.

The court heard that shamed Knowlson had returned to the mosque to apologise after the hate crime.

Ian Halliday, defending, said: ‘This was a brutal, misconceived, drunken prank.’

He returned to the mosque and offered his apologies in person.

Knowlson sat in tears as he was handed a six-month suspended sentence and 150 hours of unpaid work.

A second man is due to stand trial in connection with the incident later this month.

After sentencing, Mubarak Mohamud, one of the three imams at the Al-Baseera mosque, claimed the inflammatory act had upset the Muslim community.

He said: ‘There wasn’t anger, people were more upset and shocked.

‘We don’t eat pork and we are banned by our faith from eating it, as it makes us impure when we are going to our prayers.

‘We don’t hate the man – we just suppose he doesn’t know us.’

Knowlson refused to comment after leaving court.

Daily Mail

A businessman who hurled missiles as he marched through Bristol with the English Defence League handed himself into the authorities when he realised he was a wanted man.

Barry Johnson was one of hundreds of marchers who took part in the high-profile demonstration through the city centre in July last year.

Bristol Crown Court heard how he was caught on film by a cameraman and images were later posted online by Avon and Somerset police in a bid to track him down.

When he saw the images Johnson travelled from his home in Peterborough to admit his involvement in the incident.

The 29-year-old from Poplar Avenue, Peterborough, pleaded guilty to affray when he appeared in court. Judge Martin Picton told him: “Throwing missiles is clearly dangerous. Someone could have been hurt.” The judge handed Johnson a three- month prison sentence which was suspended for a year. He also fined him £250 and ordered him to pay £85 towards court costs.

Richard Posner, prosecuting, said: “On July 14 in Bristol there was a demonstration and march by the English Defence League in the centre of Bristol.

“The group was formed in 2009 and it claims to oppose Islamic extremism. It chose to assemble in Bristol and march. That led to tension with United Against Fascism, and there was anticipated to be tension between the two groups.”

He added: “Police went to the city centre to quell disorder.”

Mr Posner told the court that police filmed Johnson in the thick of the crowd, throwing two missiles in the direction of the UAF supporters with no apparent provocation.

He said it was impossible to say if anyone was struck and there was no other violence taking place at the time of the incident. The judge was shown the police footage which captured the offence. Johnson was in the middle of a crowd of jostling and gesticulating EDL marchers.

Mr Posner said: “There was an intention to identify people and the defendant was identified in that way. “He handed himself in. He had seen himself on the Avon and Somerset police website, which asked Do you know who these people are?”

When Johnson handed himself in police interviewed him but he made no comment about the incident. His criminal record revealed he had previous convictions for football- related violent disorder.

Johnson represented himself in court but, other than handing the judge a letter, said nothing in his defence. The judge confirmed he had read a pre-sentence report from the probation service which revealed Johnson ran his own business with his brother.

South West Business

A FOOTBALL hooligan who groped a 14-year-old girl on a bus has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Drunken Kevin Jenkins, 45, sexually assaulted the schoolgirl as she made her way home from the ice rink in Bristol city centre.

Jenkins asked the teenager to eat a Malteser out of his hand before grabbing her thighs and buttocks as she walked past, Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard.

The court was told the assault, which Jenkins admitted at an earlier hearing, had left the girl feeling withdrawn, frightened and embarrassed.

Father-of-six Jenkins targeted the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at 10.45pm on January 16 after drinking heavily with a friend.

Neil Treharne, prosecuting, said Jenkins put his leg across the gangway of the bus to stop the girl passing then told her she could only get by if she ate one of his Maltesers.

When she refused, he asked her to eat it from his hand before forcing the chocolate into her mouth, the court heard.

Mr Treharne said that as he allowed the teenager to pass him, Jenkins rubbed the girl’s thighs and buttocks with his hands before telling her to “jog on”.

The court was told the teenager now suffers with anxiety and had felt “physically sick” on seeing Jenkins at a bus stop since the attack.

Mr Treharne said Bristol Rovers supporter Jenkins, of Mancroft Avenue, Lawrence Weston, had 17 offences to his name and had been made the subject of a football banning order.

Victoria Ellis, defending, said her client was ashamed and disgusted by his actions. She said: “He has six children and if something like this happened to one of his own daughters he would be horrified. He has a very sketchy memory of that night and the only way he can explain his behaviour is that he had consumed an extremely large amount of alcohol.”

Magistrates handed Jenkins a 10-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered him to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

He will be added to the sex offenders’ register and was told to take part in a 12-month community order, attend a programme for substance-related crime, pay £250 in compensation to the girl and £60 court costs.

This is Bristol