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A man has been convicted of racially abusing a Rochdale taxi driver after the New Zealand mosque shootings.

Sean Allen, 33, has been ordered to pay £100 compensation to his victim plus £320 in court costs, and to serve a community order with a six-week curfew.

Police were called to Queensway on 17 March to claims the driver’s passengers referred to the Christchurch attacks while abusing and threatening him.

The case against Natalie Rudman was dismissed by Manchester magistrates.

Both had denied the offence at a previous hearing.

Like Allen, Ms Rudman, 34 and from Heywood, had been charged with racially or religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm, or distress.

Allen, of Collyhurst, must also pay an £85 victim surcharge.

The Rochdale incident took place two days after 50 people were killed in two mosque attacks.

BBC News

A 21-year-old Rochdale man and a 16-year-old youth from Stockport have been locked up by a judge for their part in disturbances involving English Defence League supporters at the Eureka Museum in Halifax.

Michael Kelly, of Sykes Court, Rochdale, and the teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had travelled to West Yorkshire in July last year for an EDL demonstration in the car park of the popular family attraction.

Bradford Crown Court heard that although it was a Saturday the museum itself was closed to the public and only some staff were on duty that afternoon.

Prosecutor David McGonigal told the court how the Unite Against Facism group were due to hold a counter demonstration about a mile away, but police became concerned about possible clashes when about 50 EDL supporters headed towards the King Cross Road area.

A bus was provided to take the EDL followers to the Eureka car park and Mr McGonigal said it was at about 1.30pm when between 200 and 300 EDL demonstrators broke through the fence at the museum and confronted a small number of police officers.

Mr McGonigal said rocks and bottles were thrown towards officers who were in their normal uniforms and the crowd was shouting and gesticulating aggressively.

Staff inside the museum were frightened by the incident and some of the crowd made their way around to the side of the museum where industrial-size bins were overturned and damage caused to fencing.

Mr McGonigal said the demonstrators were eventually contained by officers in riot gear, police dogs and mounted police.

Kelly, who had earlier been filmed in Sowerby Bridge wearing a skull mask, was one of those who went through the broken fence into the museum grounds and Mr McGonigal alleged that at one stage he could be seen charging towards the police officers.

Kelly, who has a previous conviction for threatening behaviour at a football match, admitted violent disorder on the basis that he had no thrown anything at the police himself.

Kelly, who was arrested in December, said he was not a member of the EDL but had wanted to take part in a peaceful manner.

He said he was part of the crowd and blamed the police for “hemming” them in at the car park.

He said he wasn’t charging at the police, but simply trying to get out of the museum grounds.

Kelly was jailed for nine months by Judge Peter Benson who also imposed a two-year anti-social behaviour order on the defendant.

The 16-year-old, who also admitted violent disorder, was shown on CCTV footage kicking at the fence before it is broken down.

At the time the youngster was wearing a scarf over his face.

The teenager was sentenced to a six-month detention and training order and he was also made the subject of a two-year ASBO

Halifax Courier

English Defence League clash with anti-fascist groups in Manchester.
English Defence League clash with anti-fascist groups in Manchester.

AN English Defence League supporter has been fined for his role in the organisation’s October protest in Manchester city centre.

Lee Howarth, 24, from Milnrow in Rochdale, was arrested at Piccadilly Station on October 10, after shouting abuse and swearing at police officers. Hundreds of EDL supporters gathered on the day to demonstrate.

Manchester magistrates’ court heard yesterday how Howarth, who is unemployed, persisted in swearing at police despite repeatedly being told to ‘calm down’.

With his fists raised, Howarth responded: ‘Think you’re a big man? Make me.’

Howarth was drunk at the time.

Philip Lythgoe, defending, said Howarth accepts he swore but that it was in response to being ‘pushed around by police’.

Chairman of the bench, Iain Simms, said: ‘Police are there to do a job and you don’t expect them to be shouted and sworn at.’

Howarth pleaded guilty to a public order offence of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour and was fined a total of £100.

The EDL claims only to oppose radical Islam but supporters were seen at the October demonstrations making Nazi salutes.

Around 1,500 people joined a counter protest by Unite Against Fascism and the two sides faced-off for five hours, separated by police in riot gear and on horseback.

A total of 48 people were arrested during the day and the demonstration left the city with an £800,000 bill.

Manchester Evening News