Tag Archives: mosque

Paul Hepplestall said he had suffered three ‘savage attacks’ in jail – the last leaving him permanently scarred – and his family had been threatened

A thug who made a racist video threatening to slash Muslims and blow up mosques in the wake of two UK terrorist attacks was today jailed.

Paul Hepplestall filmed himself posing with a sword and a plastic grenade hanging from his t-shirt during the explicit rant.

The hate video – recorded two weeks after the Manchester Arena bombing and the day after the London Bridge attack – went viral.

The 40-year-old, of Cornwallis Street, Liverpool city centre, said: “This is a quick message to Muslims, p***s and terrorists, you can’t call yourself terrorists, cowards is what I want to call youse.

“Yeah, you run in with bombs strapped to use and blow yourself up, where there’s a bunch of innocent kids. There is nothing terrorising about that.

“Let me tell you, I will get people to run in your mosques with pineapples [a reference to grenades, prosecutors said], blow your mosques off this f***ing planet.

“Yeah, I will cut each one of your ears off with a sword, I will cut your fingers, your toes, I will cut you a thousand times until you bleed out.”

Trevor Parry-Jones, prosecuting, said he recorded and uploaded the “horrific video” some time on June 4 and, within hours, police forces across the country were receiving complaints.

He said Hepplestall was “aggressive and blunt”, adding: “It was particularly provocative and rather appalling in nature.”

Muslim parents in Merseyside, Bristol, Newcastle, Scotland and as far away as Yemen told Liverpool Crown Court they feared for their safety.

Hepplestall went on to make two more short videos, claiming the first one had just been a joke and saying he had friends in the ethnic community.

But Mr Parry-Jones said: “It was not considered to be a joke, because of the chilling nature.”

Police identified him but, before he was found, he handed himself in on June 5 and told officers: “I’m not a bad person, it was a bad massive mistake.”

Hepplestall was accused of using racially-aggravated, threatening language and threatening to destroy or damage property.

He said Hepplestall, who knew someone at the concert and had been drunk, tried to “redress the balance” after being “completely moronic”.

Mr Morgan said he had suffered three “savage attacks” in jail – the last leaving him permanently scarred – and his family had been threatened.

Jailing him for 20 months, Judge Elizabeth Nicholls said: “On the 22nd of May of this year, a number of innocent people were killed and injured at the Manchester Arena due to the actions of a suicide bomber.

“Manchester and the rest of the country were appalled by this atrocity. But Manchester’s response was to kick back at the fear and hatred intended by this act, and (come) together.

“Those of any faith or no faith stood shoulder-to-shoulder in condemning the act and supporting each other. It was a community brought together.

“A second terror attack occurred on the 3rd of June. This time in London but, again, the reaction was one that people can rightly be proud.

“People looked for a commonality, shared interests, provided support, and as one voice condemned the action.

“You recorded yourself on your phone, and uploaded that message to the internet. The message was threatening, frightening and full of racial bile. That message went viral.”

Judge Nicholls said his video caused “fear, anger and distress” to Muslims across the world.

She said: “They all believed you capable of carrying out the atrocities that you speak of.

“Many have children and describe their fear that they and their children may be attacked as they go about their everyday business.

“And, although it was obvious to them that you came from Liverpool, all were concerned as to the demons you may unleash in others.

“This video is offensive and obscene to any right-minded person, regardless of their belief system. It is unacceptable, not only because it is contrary to the law, but it is contrary to the standard we expect from anyone who lives in a civilised community.

“Your recording did exactly what the terrorist, that you purported to condemn, aimed to do – you spread the word of hatred, dissent and caused significant fear amid the community at large.”

The judge said the offence was “possibly the worse example of its kind”.

She added: “One would have hoped that hatred based on someone’s religious beliefs was something that we left behind centuries ago. Your words and recording are abhorrent to all civilised individuals.”

Liverpool Echo

The men are being sentenced at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court today

Two men have pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated hate crimes after pork was smeared on the door of a mosque.

CCTV footage showed 28-year-old Jamie Mullins urinating on the outside of Five Ways Centre in Sherwood, which is used for Islamic prayer, while wearing a football shirt, drinking from a can of beer and carrying a St George’s flag.

He then smeared the pork sausage meat on the mosque.

Mullins admitted two charges – one of racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress, and one of racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage .

Mathew Sarsfield, of Daybrook, said he felt “ashamed” after watching the CCTV, and admitted one charge of causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.

The court sent away Mullins, of Palmerston Gardens, St Ann’s, for a report to be made, with sentencing expected this afternoon, but Sarsfield was given fines totalling £230, and branded an “idiot” by presiding magistrate Paul Ensor at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court .

Jamie Mullins leaving Nottingham Magistrates' Court

Jamie Mullins leaving Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

Neil Fawcett, prosecuting, said the crimes happened in the aftermath of the “horrific events in London, including the attack on Finsbury Park Mosque, so that was playing on the mind of Dr Mughal, who was inside the mosque”.

In the early hours of June 18, during Ramadan, the pair had been watching a boxing match, and said in a police interview that they were “feeling patriotic”.

A worshipper leaving the mosque before the meat was smeared noticed two men loitering, and was so concerned that he watched the CCTV on his phone. He contacted Dr Nughal, who was still inside the mosque, who then called 999.

The court heard that Sarsfield, who was representing himself, played a lesser part in the events.

Mr Ensor said: “You’re an idiot, if you had walked away you would not be here, if you had taken control and said (to Mullins) ‘what do you think you’re doing’ then that would have been fine.

“But you stood there and were complicit in his actions. You did next to nothing other than be there and take a selfie.

Mathew Sarsfield leaving Nottingham Magistrates' Court

Mathew Sarsfield leaving Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

“There’s nothing we can hang you out to dry for, other than being an idiot.”

When asked by the magistrate how he intended to pay the fine, Sarsfield said: “I’m going to ask my dad.”

He then motioned at his father, who was in the public gallery.

The magistrate then said: “I know what I would be saying if I was your dad, and it would not be ‘here you go son’.

Speaking to Sarsfield, the magistrate then said: “You have children, so think about how, as a father, you would feel watching your children behaving in that manner. Ask yourself how you would feel.”

The court also heard that Sarsfield’s Facebook account was searched by police in the investigation into the crime.

Mr Fawcett said Sarsfield had shared posts from groups including the English Defence League, including lines such as “It’s not racist to love your people”, “Islam is on the rise, time to kick it back to the stone ages where it came from before it’s too late,” and “This isn’t immigration it’s an invasion”.

Nottingham Post

Giulio Vines “didn’t like the way he was treated” by worshippers at Omar Faruque Mosque who told him to be quiet

A motorcyclist threw bacon on vehicles outside a mosque because he didn’t like the way he was told to be quiet by worshippers.

Giulio Vines, from Milton Road, Cambridge was riding around outside with friends near Omar Faruque Mosque in Kirkwood Road in June when someone came out to speak to them.

At Cambridge Magistrates’ Court today (July 11) Sandra Dyer, prosecuting, said: “Some people came out of the mosque and asked him to be quiet. He didn’t like the way he was treated.”

A few days later on June 8, Vines and his friends returned around 11.15pm. Vines had brought a pack of bacon from home.

When worshippers praying during Ramadan left the mosque around 12.15am the next day, four cars were found with bacon on them.

A Suzuki Bandit was caught on CCTV near the scene, which was then traced back to Vines.

Ms Dyer said Vines claimed he had “nothing against Muslims” but that he “accepted bacon was offensive to Muslims”.

The prosecutor told the court the words of a worshipper, who said: “I feel I have been targeted because of my faith. I am a peaceful, law-abiding person who went to the mosque for prayer.”

Monica Lentin, defending, said: “Initially my client and his friends had gone out on their motorbikes in the vicinity of the mosque. They rode their bikes up and down. They didn’t go out looking for any trouble.

“I think it’s accepted by people in the mosque that somebody came out. He [Vines] didn’t realise it was Ramadan.

“He said someone came out of the mosque and was actually aggressive to him. He just felt upset at the way he was spoken to.”

“He knew what he was doing but he didn’t fully appreciate the hurt and upset of the people whose cars he threw the bacon at,” said Ms Lentin.

She added: “It was kids making noise, being told off and my client taking exception.”

Vines admitted a charge of racially/religiously aggravated criminal damage. A further charge of criminal damage was dropped.

The court heard that Vines later went to speak with two people from Omar Faruque Mosque, which the defence described as “an extremely constructive and very helpful discussion”.

Ms Lentin said: “They accepted my client didn’t intend to cause the harm he has. My client doesn’t have and has not been brought up to have any hatred of anyone based on their colour, creed or anything else.”

She told the court Vines was “a good worker” and that he had come “top of the class” in his apprenticeship.

Ms Lentin said: “I invite you and your colleagues to consider dealing with this in such a way that will enable him to continue to do what he has been doing.”

The bench told Vines: “We accept the defence’s version of events. It wasn’t hate crime. We believe this was an act of immaturity.

“We have heard that you have made contact with the victims who have shown compassion towards yourself.”

Vines received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £85 in costs, £25 compensation to each victim and a victim surcharge of £20.

Cambridge News


Kevin Crehan (left) and Mark Bennett were part of a group that targeted the mosque in January

Kevin Crehan (left) and Mark Bennett were part of a group that targeted the mosque in January

Two men have been jailed and two women have been given suspended sentences after rashers of bacon were tied to door handles at a Bristol mosque.

During the incident on 17 January, the group shouted racial abuse at a member of the mosque and tied a St George’s flag to the fence of the Jamia Mosque.

Kevin Crehan, 34, of Knowle, was jailed for 12 months and Mark Bennett, 48, of Patchway, for nine months.

Both had admitted religiously aggravated public order offences.

At the Bristol Crown Court hearing, 46-year-old Alison Bennett – the wife of Mark Bennett – was given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years, while Angelina Swales, 31, from Brislington, was handed a four-month sentence, suspended for two years.

‘Worship without fear’

The two women also admitted religiously aggravated public order offences in relation to the targeting of the Totterdown mosque.

All four were given a restraining order preventing them from going within 100m of a mosque anywhere in England or Wales for the next 10 years.

Insp Nigel Colston of Avon and Somerset Police paid tribute to the way the community responded to what happened.

He said: “The way local people came together with overwhelming support for the mosque made me proud to be associated with Bristol.

“There can never be any excuse for hate crime in any shape or form and this criminality will not be tolerated.

“All of our communities have the right to live and worship peacefully without fear of being targeted for their race or religion.”
BBC News

ONE OF the men who admits a racially aggravated attack on Totterdown’s mosque has claimed in court that he didn’t know that bacon was offensive to Muslims.

Mark Bennett, 48, claimed he was not a racist and did not take bacon to the mosque in Green Street on January 17, 2016, intending to cause offence.

Instead, he said, he was trying to raise awareness about the plight of British armed forces veterans and homeless people who he felt deserved more attention.

Bennett, of Spruce Way, Patchway, his wife Alison Bennett, 46, Kevin Crehan, 34, of Springleaze, Knowle, and Angelina Margaret Swales, 31, of West Town Avenue, Brislington, have all pleaded guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence at the Jamia mosque.

Bristol crown court was told on June 17 that during the incident racial abuse was shouted at a Muslim man attending the mosque. Raw bacon was thrown and left hanging from the mosque’s railings and an English flag, the cross of St George, was left on the steps with the legend “No mosques, no refugees”, the prosecution said.

But the two men involved denied being racists, said there was no bacon thrown, and they did not hear any racial abuse. They claimed their protest was peaceful. Crehan said it was an attempt to get Muslims to “integrate”. “I grew up in Totterdown and I have got many, many Muslim friends,” he said.

Bennett drew a parallel with charitable activities.

“In my own time I go to the city centre and take coffee and bacon sandwiches to people who live on the streets,” he said.

Judge Julian Lambert asked Bennett if he expected people at the mosque to eat his bacon sandwiches and be grateful for them.

“Possibly,” Bennett replied. The court had heard that Bennett and his wife had bought the bacon and some bread in a £1 shop in Broadmead the same morning. The barrister for the prosecution, Ian Fenney, asked Bennett: “Did you expect people to eat raw bacon?”

“No,” said Bennett. “Where was the bacon going to be cooked?” asked Mr Fenney.

“It possibly could have been cooked in the mosque. I wouldn’t know, would I?” said Bennett.

He added: “I didn’t know that it was offensive to take bacon to the mosque. If I had known I wouldn’t have taken it. Mr Fenney responded: “I suggest you knew exactly how much offence would be caused by taking raw bacon and that’s why you did it. Why was bacon found on the door handles of the mosque? Because any Muslim entering the mosque would have to touch it.”

Bennett told the court he didn’t know the meaning of the word “jihad”.

The court was also told that in 2008 Crehan racially abused an Asian police officer at Broadbury Road police station, after he was arrested at his home during a domestic disturbance. Crehan said he was high on alcohol and drugs at the time but had since given both up.

Bennett was presented with several Facebook pages, posted in April 2016, in the name Marc Bennet, which contained offensive statements about Muslims and references to a recent attack on a mosque.

Bennett said the pages were not his and suggested they had been created to frame him by left-wing activists. He agreed that he had previously had another Facebook page in the name Mark English.

The four will be sentenced at another hearing on July 22, when the two women will be cross-examined.

The attack on January 17 resulted in an outpouring of support for the Jamia mosque, the oldest in Bristol. Hundreds of people attended an open afternoon the following weekend, and hundreds more pledged their support for the mosque being at the heart of the Totterdown community.

South Bristol Voice

Thomas Johnstone, 29, also reportedly chanted anti-Muslim slogans during a protest organised by the English Defence League

Thomas Johnstone waved an England flag scrawled with 'f*** Islam' across it just 24 hours after Britain voted to leave the EU

Thomas Johnstone waved an England flag scrawled with ‘f*** Islam’ across it just 24 hours after Britain voted to leave the EU

A racist thug waved an England flag scrawled with ‘f*** Islam’ across it – just 24 hours after Britain voted to leave the EU.

Thomas Johnstone also chanted anti-Muslim slogans during an English Defence League protest on Saturday.

The 29-year-old’s chants got louder as Asian drivers or pedestrians passed him while he took part in the demonstration, a court heard.

Around 30 members of the far-right group had gathered outside the Manarat Foundation mosque in Birmingham.

The court heard that on the flag was written ‘no more mosques,’ ‘English ’till I die’ and ‘f*** Islam’.”

Johnstone yesterday admitted two counts of causing religiously aggravated harassment alarm or stress under the Public Order Act at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.

He also pleaded guilty to obstructing an officer after giving police his brother’s name when arrested.

Johnstone, of Luton, was handed a £400 fine but was told he would not have to pay because of the time he had spent in custody since Saturday.

He remained in custody after being recalled to prison on licence on other matters.

Helen Shipley, prosecuting, said demonstrators were herded by police to one side of the Coventry Road in Birmingham.

Johnstone had a St George’s flag draped around his neck.

Miss Shipley said: “He appeared to film police because he wanted their opinion on a new mosque.

“He removed the flag and was holding it up towards motorists.

“On the flag was written ‘no more mosques’ and ‘English ’till I die’ and ‘f*** Islam’.”

Miss Shipley said Johnstone was also chanting offensive anti-Muslim slogans and got more vocal when Asian drivers or pedestrians passed by.

After being arrested Johnstone gave police the name of his brother but was found out when fingerprint tests revealed his true identity.

Ben Galletti, defending, said Johnstone had been recalled on licence to prison on other matters and was not due for release until June 1 next year.

District Judge Robert Zara fined Johnstone £150 for each of the religiously aggravated offences and £100 for obstructing an officer.

He said: “The maximum penalty for public order offences is only a fine whatever view I may take of your conduct.

“Because you are now a serving prisoner I will deem the time spent in custody since your arrest should serve in default of payment.”

On a Facebook profile page Johnstone appears to be connected to the Coventry branch of the EDL.

A status update from May said: “Before ny1(sic) forms an opinion of what I believe in please google what the EDL fight for.”

Daily Mirror

Three people have admitted a religiously aggravated assault at a mosque in Totterdown.

Mark Bennett, 48, and his wife Alison Bennett, 46, both of Spruce Way in Patchway, appeared alongside Angelina Swailes, 31, of West Town Avenue, Brislington at Bristol Crown Court today.

They pleaded guilty to throwing Bacon sandwiches at elderly worshipers as they entered Jamia Mosque, in January.

A trial was supposed to begin today but the three defendants changed their plea last minute.

Kevin Shaun Crehan, 34, of Stockwood Crescent, Knowle has already pleaded guilty to the charges at Bristol Magistrates Court on February 17.

The trio were released on unconditional bail, ahead of being sentenced later this week.

Bristol Post