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But Cleveland Police questioned in court over claims Mark Trippett was only stopped because he had a far-right group’s shirt on

Mark Trippett, 35, of Carisbrooke Avenue, Middlesbrough, stopped by police and found carrying a knuckleduster

Mark Trippett, 35, of Carisbrooke Avenue, Middlesbrough, stopped by police and found carrying a knuckleduster

A man wearing a T-shirt seemingly proclaiming him to be a far-right group’s “soldier” was nicked after police caught him with a £1.50 knuckleduster.

Officers stopped Middlesbrough’s Mark Trippett while he was wearing a “right wing” North East Infidels shirt.

However, Trippett – who has EDL tattooed on his neck – insist he doesn’t share their views.

And he’s been spared prison for carrying the knuckleduster after a judge heard there was “no reason” to stop him, other than for his shirt.

Police used stop and search powers as Trippett walked along Corporation Road in Middlesbrough on July 16.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard on Wednesday that he had forgotten it was there.

“He said he didn’t intend on using it and it was a daft mistake,” added the probation service.

He handed the knuckleduster straight to police, with his solicitor adding it had been a “serene” incident.

“There were no threats to police and he handed the weapon straight over,” he said.

“Perhaps it was a macho thing at the time, and it wasn’t thought through.”

Trippett, 35, of Carisbrooke Avenue, Thorntree, had been wearing the North East Infidels shirt – emblazoned with the word “soldier” – when he was arrested.

The group marched alongside EDL and National Front members in Stockton last year.

The Teesside branch claim on Facebook the group is a “family”, but in court they were dubbed “right wing”.

However, Judge Martin Walker questioned if Cleveland Police had simply targeted him because of his shirt, with the court hearing there had been “no disorder” in the area to warrant stop and search laws being deployed.

Tracksuit-clad Trippett had pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon, which he claimed he’d bought for £1.50.

Judge Walker warned the offence would almost always carry a jail term.

But he instead handed him a one-year community order, but not without dishing out a dressing down.

“Certainly (the knuckleduster) is only used to cause serious harm to another human being,” added Judge Walker.

“That is what the knuckleduster is for – to enhance the power of the fist.”

Cleveland Police declined to comment. The weapon will be destroyed.

Gazette Live

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

Drunken thugs boasted on Facebook about starting a ‘war’ in a pizza shop after attacking and racially abusing workers, smashing a door and hurling pizza boxes around the shop.

Brothers Jamie York, 32, and John Alexander Brown, 19, both of Greenwood Avenue, Mansfield Woodhouse and Shaun Andrew Bowers , 35, of Crompton Road, Mansfield were caught on CTTV in Chicho’s on High Street, Mansfield Woodhouse.

All three had been to Bowers’ grandfather’s funeral on January 26, had been drinking and went for food at the shop before 8pm that day.

However, Mansfield Magistrates’ Court heard how an argument broke out over the size of a pizza and things ‘turned very badly’, according to defence solicitor for Brown and York, Chris Perry.

The court was shown extensive CCTV footage of the incident which showed punches being thrown, pizza boxes and dishes being hurled between both the defendants and the shop workers. Racial insults and threats were also heard.

At one point Brown is seen picking up a ‘wet-floor’ plastic sign and throwing it at the staff. The staff can also be seen swinging a wooden stick around to defend themselves.

One member had to be later taken to hospital with bruising and swelling.

Brown was seen later seen returning to the shop and kicking the door, damaging it.

Two of the three defendants were later found to have posted entries on Facebook with what prosecutor Robert Carr described as ‘rejoicing at what they called a war’, and laughing and bragging.

But in mitigation, the court was told how the defendants do not consider themselves to be racist and insults may have been shouted in the heat of the moment.

Mr Perry said: “They did not intend to cause trouble, there were events that led to this inexcusable behaviour.

“The catalyst for it was very innocuous.”

Bowers admitted racially-aggravated provocation of violence and was handed a 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work, £200 compensation and £145 in costs.

Brown admitted criminal damage and two counts of assault, while York admitted racially-aggravated criminal damage and two counts of racially-aggravated assaults.

They each received 18 weeks’ jail for the assaults, plus four weeks for the criminal damage charges, all suspended for 12 months.

They each had to pay £750 in compensation, Brown was also given 200 hours of unpaid work while York was given a three-month curfew order.

All three were handed a one-year restraining order to not enter the pizza shop.

Mansfield Chad

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MP

The Right-Wing protester who launched a tirade at a judge in a Dover riot case last week returned to court today… and apologised!

Dad-of-six Mark Pearson had screamed and shouted after appearing by prison video link from his native North East.

Eventually, after being told to keep quiet, the judge pressed the “mute” TV button and the case continued in silence, with Pearson gesticulating wildly.

Today, the 43-year-old sat quietly in the room in Durham Prison to tell Judge Adele Williams: “Your Honour, I do apologise and I am very sorry for the way I went on the other day. I was totally out of order. I shouldn’t have been the way I did (sic)”

But the contrite apology didn’t prevent the judge from jailing him for two years after he admitted violent disorder.

Prosecutor Paul Valder told Canterbury Crown Court how Pearson travelled from his home in Pelton, near Chester le Street, to join a right-wing protest in support of lorry drivers in Dover.

At 3.05pm, Pearson, wearing a camouflage flak jacket and bearing St George flags was caught on camera in Castle Street at the head of a group.

Left-wing thugs then began pelting the group with missiles “which rained down on them”, one of which hit Pearson on the head.

Mr Valder said he is then seen picking up the missile before “suddenly “ running towards the police lines and hurling it back over their heads towards the left-wing protesters.

The court heard that as the rival groups clashed, the left-wing protesters began chanting “Nazi scum” and Pearson with 20 to 30 others then gave a Nazi salute while shouting “Sieg Heil”.

Pearson has a criminal record with more than 80 convictions including eight for public order offences, one of which was racially aggravated.

But his barrister Alexia Zimbler said he denies being a member of any right-wing group, including the English Defence League or the National Front.

She said Pearson had made the 330 mile trip with his 23 year old daughter to support the lorry drivers and was angry that the police weren’t doing more to protect them from the left wing protesters.

“He doesn’t accept that he is a racist and says his views aren’t too right wing.

“But he accepts he lost his temper when the left wingers started shouting “Nazi scum” and reacted accordingly.

Judge Williams told him: “Your behaviour that day was wholly unacceptable. This was serious public disorder on the streets of Dover.”

Kent Today

Magistrates expressed surprise that no-one else was charged alongside Keith Edward Hall, 38, of Bath Street, Rhyl

Keith Hill

A man has been given a suspended prison sentence for a firework attack on a mosque.

Magistrates saw video footage which showed Keith Edward Hall twice approaching the Islamic Centre in Rhyl, lighting the fireworks and pushing them through the letterbox on November 11.

In the background, a man and woman could be heard laughing and shouting: “Hurry up.”

Having seen the film, Prestatyn magistrates expressed surprise that no-one else has been charged in connection with the attack.

Hall, 38, of Bath Street, Rhyl, had pleaded guilty to religiously aggravated criminal damage at the centre in Water Street.

In the footage, filmed from the doorway of the Bow Bar opposite, Hall was seen approaching the mosque twice in 20 minutes.

In a victim impact statement, Rafiq Ullah, the centre’s treasurer, said the damage could have been much greater had they not taken measures to improve fire safety after a previous incident.

He said people could easily have been injured as the prayer room was behind the door.

The incident occurred only two days before the Paris shootings, and Mr Ullah said tension at the mosque was high in that period. It eased when Hall was arrested.

When interviewed, Hall said he could remember very little about the incident because he had drunk eight litres of cider and eight shorts.

He woke up the following morning with a sore arm where part of the letterbox surround had hit him when it was blown off.

He denied being a racist and claimed to have several friends from ethnic minorities.

Alex Fitzgerald, representing Hall, said he found it “astonishing” that no-one else had been charged even though they were interviewed.

Mr Fitzgerald told the court that Hall did not even realise that the building was a mosque.

“It was not born out of a deep-seated hate of the Muslim community, but was an act of utter stupidity,” he said.

“He is embarrassed at his stupidity and wishes to apologise. Alcohol affects his thinking and his behaviour.”

Hall was given a 16-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, and must also observe a 7pm-7am curfew and attend a six-month alcohol treatment course and 25 days of rehabilitation.

He was also ordered to pay compensation of £558, costs of £300 and a surcharge of £80.

The Bench made a restraining order prohibiting him from entering Water Street for 12 months.

Daily Post

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Jenks

A THUG who targeted two strangers in a racist attack in Orford leaving one of the victims unconscious and in desperate need of hospital treatment is now behind bars.

Ryan Swindells, aged 20, of East Avenue, Orford, was handed a three year sentence after pleading guilty to a section 20 assault and affray.

The court heard how two men of Iraqi-Kurd origin were walking along Orford Lane on April 4 at 6.40pm when they heard shouting and swearing from a group of men on the other side of the road.

One of the men – later identified as Swindells – could be heard shouting racist abuse and crossed the road to approach the two men.

Prosecuting Paulinus Barnes said: “One of the victims thought if he was nice to him he would walk away but the other males were encouraging him.

“He then put his head towards one of the victims in a threatening manner.”

A fight broke out with at least four others getting involved in the street brawl.

At one point CCTV showed three men kicking one of the victims while on the floor.

One of the victims later lost consciousness and had to be put in the recovery position by a member of the public – his face covered in blood from the attack.

The victim was taken to Aintree Hospital where he was treated for head injuries and a fractured collar bone.

Defending Swindells, David James said both the defendant, who has struggled with binge drinking and a cocaine habit, and the victims were ‘giving as good as they can get’ during the fight.

He added: “Having spoken to this young man this is not a man who is proud of his actions.

“He is embarrassed by them and he is disappointed he is in court again.

“He is deeply ashamed he has used racist terms as he does not feel he is an ingrained racist.”

Swindells has a number of previous convictions – one racially aggravated.

Declan Jenks, aged 21, of Alder Lane, and Joshua Williamson, aged 21, of Marsh House Lane, were also sentenced at Warrington Crown Court on Friday for their involvement in the brawl.

Jenks was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after admitting a section 20 assault, affray and breach of a suspended sentence.

Williamson pleaded guilty to affray and must carry out 160 hours of unpaid work, 35 days of rehabilitation activity and a thinking skills programme.

The court heard how Jenks, who has a previous convictions for drunk and disorderly and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, originally became involved in the fight to break it up.

Defending Jenks, John Banasko, said: “Unfortunately initially he had good intentions effectively to assist Mr Swindells as he was originally in the minority but he did become involved and he did throw punches.”

He added that he was not involved in the racist abuse and did not kick the victims.

Williamson, who has a previous conviction for a public order offence in 2014, did not throw any punches and was not involved in the racist abuse but chased one of the victims up the street.

Defending Williamson, Michael Whitty said apart from one previous conviction, the defendant’s behaviour was ‘out of character’.

He said: “He is a young man and he clearly has ideas about what he wants to do during his life.

“When it is the right time he wants to join the marines. He has ideas for his life that does not involve coming back to court.”

Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Woodward said this would have been a ‘disturbing incident’ for members of the public to witness.

He added: “It started with Swindells making racist comment towards them for no apparent reason.

“Not content with that you [Swindells] then came over from the opposite side of the road towards them and they were trying to diffuse the situation but you were clearly looking for a fight.

“In a macho way you put your head towards his showing aggression.

“When they did not respond you started to punch out.”

THE MUM of Lee Swindells was forced to apologise to a judge after lashing out as her son was led down to the cells.

Judge Nicholas Woodward ordered for Lynn Swindells to be detained by a police officer after she refused to be silent during the sentencing of her son.
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While Ms Swindells could have faced proceedings under the Contempt of Court Act following her verbal outburst the judge decided only to issue her with a warning after she apologised for her actions.

Ms Swindells could be seen crying in the dock after spending part of the afternoon in the cells while she waited to find out her fate.

Warrington Guardian

Dec

Liam Edwards at Manchester Magistrates Court

Liam Edwards at Manchester Magistrates Court

A man who went into his local Sainsbury’s supermarket and stuck stickers on packets of meat that read “beware halal is barbaric and funds terrorism” has been given a month-long curfew.

Liam Gary Edwards, 29, today pleaded guilty to racially aggravated criminal damage on the day of his trial but insisted that he was protesting against the halal slaughter of animals after watching a television documentary.

The self-proclaimed “animal lover” stuck nine stickers with the hashtag #banhalal on halal poultry products after obtaining the stickers over the internet.

At an earlier hearing held at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court, the van driver pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis after police found the Class B during a search of his home in Chancel Avenue, Ordsall, following the incident.

Today the same court was told that CCTV captured Edwards going into the supermarket on Regent Road, Salford, on February 20 with his girlfriend and two young children.

Later staff at the store became aware of the stickers on various packets of chicken breasts, thighs and a whole chicken worth £16.50 which could no longer be sold due to concerns for contamination.

Upon searching the hashtag term on Twitter, staff found images of the stickers on trollies and point of sale displays.

For the prosecution, Miss Lisa Connor said that upon his arrest Edwards apologised to officers.

She said: “He accepted he had been in possession of the stickers and placed them on various items. He got involved in a Twitter conversation about halal and maintains that his whole motivation was his concern for the way in which halal meat is obtained and what happens in abattoirs.”

She added that he had never disputed the offence and accepted the prosecution’s case

“He maintained he wasn’t motivated by any racial prejudice he just wanted to highlight the cruelty involved. He admitted he was sorry for his actions.”

The court heard that he had no similar matters on his record.

For Edwards, Mr Lee Hammond said that after watching a documentary on how livestock were dealt with in slaughterhouses he had taken to Twitter.

There he came across others who shared views of what they perceived to be “unfavourable methods” and one sent him the stickers.

Mr Hammond said: “Unfortunately the group he had found had more extreme views that went in to religion, funding and terrorism.”

He added that there had not been any complaints to the store or the police by members of the Muslim community.

Edwards told the bench: “I’m a big animal lover, be it for racial or other purposes I believe it is wrong to treat animals in that way.”

In passing sentence of a four-week curfew for the two offences to run between 9pm and 7am, chairman Mrs Vanessa Goldstone said it had not been “a run-of-the-mill case”.

He must also pay £100 prosecution costs, £60 surcharge and £16.50 compensation.

Manchester Evening News

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