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A man who deliberately drove at worshippers leaving an Islamic community centre has been jailed.

Three people were hurt when Martin Stokes drove into crowds leaving the Al-majlis Al-Hussaini centre in Cricklewood, north London on 19 September 2018.

Stokes, of Wembley, admitted dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and harassment.

At Harrow Crown Court on Wednesday he was jailed for five years.

Police said 25-year-old Stokes and others had parked outside the community centre on Horseshoe Close after a night of drinking.

The group were asked to move on by event stewards, who said they were causing a disturbance as there was a private event taking place.

Martin Stokes, 25, has been jailed for five years ( Metropolitan Police )

Martin Stokes, 25, has been jailed for five years ( Metropolitan Police )

In response, Stokes shouted racist abuse and then deliberately drove at worshippers leaving the community centre, before fleeing the scene, according to Scotland Yard.

Three people were injured, including a 50-year-old man who was hospitalised for three weeks due to serious hip and leg injuries.

Mohammed Al Bayati, from the Al Hussaini Association, said: “Our members were subject to racist and anti-Islamic taunts followed by a violent attack.

“The attack, against men, women and children and which resulted in serious injuries to the victims, took place at night during Muharram, a sacred month of the Islamic calendar.”

After sentencing, Det Sgt Kelly Schonhage said: “Stokes selfishly drove his car at a group of innocent pedestrians and had no regard whatsoever for their safety.

“It is very fortunate that no lives were lost in this incident and we are pleased that Stokes has now been brought to justice.”

Stokes was also banned from driving for seven-and-a-half years.

Michael O’Donnell, 20, and Thomas McDonagh, 20, both from Wembley, were charged in connection with the incident but their cases were discontinued.

BBC News

Martin Stokes hurled ‘racist and anti-Islamic taunts’ in religiously aggravated attack

Martin Stokes, 25, has been jailed for five years ( Metropolitan Police )

Martin Stokes, 25, has been jailed for five years ( Metropolitan Police )

A man who deliberately drove a car into a group of pedestrians outside a Muslim community centre has been jailed for five years.

Martin Stokes, 25, injured three people when he hurled “racist and anti-Islamic taunts” while he veered into the group outside the Hussaini Association hall in Cricklewood, northwest London, last September.

One man, in his 50s, sustained a serious leg and hip injury that kept him in hospital for nearly a month, the Metropolitan Police said.

Harrow Crown Court was told how at about 12.30am on 19 September Stokes and others were smoking and drinking inside a car parked in a lot close to the community centre.

Stewards for a private event being held there asked them to move on.

But in response “Stokes shouted racist abuse and then deliberately drove his car into a group of people who were leaving the community centre” before speeding away, the Met said.

He was arrested on 23 October following an investigation by Brent police.

On Wednesday he was jailed for five years and banned from driving for seven and a half years.

Stokes, of Lynton Close in Wembley, had admitted dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and a religiously aggravated offence.

Mohammed Al Bayati, from the Al Hussaini Association, said: “Our members were subject to racist and anti-Islamic taunts followed by a violent attack in which a vehicle was deliberately driven onto the pavement and aimed at the crowd of worshippers leaving the mosque.

“The attack, against men, women and children and which resulted in serious injuries to the victims, took place at night during Muharram, a sacred month of the Islamic calendar.”

The Independent