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A RACIST who once tried to evade justice by fleeing to America has been jailed for nine months for a hate crime against his neighbour.

Judge Paul Worsley QC told Simon Guy Sheppard, who has several convictions for hate crimes, he had expressed such ‘vitriolic’ and racially aggravated views that he merited the sentence.

The judge also imposed a five-year Criminal Behaviour Order to try to prevent the council tenant repeating such comments.

Sheppard, 61, of Cockrett Court, Selby, had told a jury at York Crown Court he was unhappy that a black man had been allocated a flat in his block of flats.

He said he had “barracked” a Sky engineer working on a satellite dish at the neighbour’s flat about the neighbour’s conduct on June 16, 2017, and used a racist word to describe the neighbour ‘because I was being as nasty as I could be.’

He denied intending the neighbour to overhear, using the same word with a swear word to describe his neighbour and running a hate campaign of racist taunts and actions.

The jury convicted him of using racially aggravated words to the engineer but acquitted him of a two-year racial harassment campaign. Sheppard had denied both charges.

His barrister Stephen Grattage said in mitigation that Sheppard had not offended for a protracted period of time and had medical difficulties.

Opening the prosecution, Martin Robertshaw alleged Sheppard persistently used the racist word whenever he saw the neighbour and matters came to a head on June 16.

Giving evidence, Sheppard agreed with Mr Robertshaw the only objection he had against the neighbour was that he was black and not British, adding he “had ‘taken over a white man’s wife.’

He objected to the “taboo” on using the racist word, claimed being called a “racist” was worse and alleged the “system was completely geared” in favour of black people.

Sheppard was convicted last year of a hate crime by complaining to a Selby council officer that the authority was “fly tipping” by “dumping Africans all over”

In 2008, Sheppard claimed asylum in the USA under freedom of speech law when he skipped bail partway through a trial at Leeds Crown Court for publishing racially inflammatory material.

His asylum bid failed and he was deported back to the UK, where he had been convicted in his absence, and was jailed for nearly four years.

York Press

A BIGOT who was arrested by the North-East counter terrorism police unit after issuing a “call to arms” against Muslims on Facebook has been jailed.

Police found a crossbow and a telescopic sight at Lee John Carver’s home when they investigated his series of anti-Islamic posts on the social media website, York Crown Court heard.

The 44-year-old had posted “there is a civil war coming”, he was an “archery slave” and that he had “arrows aplenty”, the Honorary Recorder of York, Judge Paul Batty QC said.

It was part of “a considerable number of months” of posts that revealed a “deep seated and deep rooted hatred of Islam”.

“It was effectively a call to arms to other like-minded bigots,” he told Carver.

“Bigots, for that is what you are and were, will be ostracised and will be held to account for what they do.”

Carver’s solicitor advocate Graham Parkin said the posts were the work of an “angry young man” who at the time was suffering from depression brought on by the effects of a life-changing motorcycle crash and who lived an introverted life in his house.

He had got the crossbow as an ornament or for use in his garden and had not taken physical action against Muslims.

Carver, of Greenacres Crescent, Selby, near York, pleaded guilty to three charges of stirring up racial hatred by publishing material on Facebook. He was jailed for 27 months.

He was brought to justice after a member of the public spotted his posts and contacted the North-East Police Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU).

Detective Chief Superintendent Clive Wain, head of the North East CTU, said: “Posts like these have the power to influence many vulnerable people and stir up racial hatred.

“As this case shows, it is vital that the public report concerning online material.

“By bringing such postings and websites to the attention of police we can work together with our partners to identify those responsible and put them before the courts.

“Anyone who has concerns regarding online content can report the material anonymously via gov.uk/ACT or call the police in confidence on 0800-789-321.”

Mr Parkin told York Crown Court that Carver’s problems coping with the effects of the crash had led to him being effectively homeless. But since his arrest last year, Carver had begun receiving treatment for his medical difficulties and had got accommodation and work.

Northern Echo