A MAN who stormed into a takeaway and threatened staff with a pizza shovel while shouting racial slurs, denied he was a racist because he had “lots of paki and coloured friends”.
Neil Mitchell, 42, of Woodland Avenue in Skellingthorpe, has been found guilty of racially aggravated threatening behaviour and racially aggravated criminal damage.
Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard that Mitchell went to Caldo Pizza in Woodfield Avenue, Birchwood on Thursday, January 6 after he was given the wrong kebab by staff.
Mitchell slammed the chicken kebab on the counter before swearing at owner Hamid Banki.
The court heard he asked staff “Can’t you understand English” and called them “f***ing foreigners” and “pakis” before picking up a pizza shovel and brandishing it at them.
A bowl was damaged during the altercation.
But in an interview with police, Mitchell claimed he was not a racist because he “had lots of paki and coloured friends” and a friend in his phone called “nig nog”.
At an earlier hearing, Mitchell pleaded guilty to threatening behaviour and causing criminal damage but denied they were racially aggravated.
Lois Colley, prosecuting, asked Mitchell: “On a number of occasions during your police interview you mimicked the accents of staff at the shop. Do you find that offensive?”
Wearing a dark suit and standing defiantly in the dock Mitchell replied: “No. Is it offensive for a northerner to mimic a southerner?”
Ms Colley then put to Mitchell: “You said in interview you had lots of “paki” and “coloured” friends and that you had a friend in your phone called ‘nig nog’ “.
Mitchell replied: “Nig nog is a white guy, it was a name he had from the Army.
“He got the name because he was always dirty and would wear paint on his face.”
Referring to the incident at Caldo Pizza, Mitchell then told magistrates: “I hadn’t slept for three nights because my father is ill with Parkinson’s disease.
“They had got my order wrong again, so I went back to demand my money back, and petrol money as well.
“The chef started getting a bit cocky and it escalated from there.
“I said ‘Can’t you understand English?’, but it wasn’t a racist remark.
“I grew up in the ghetto where life was tough. Where I came from, things were different and you could have a bit of banter.
“I never used racist words, I can’t understand why they thought I did.”
Richard Marshall, in mitigation, said: “Mr Mitchell comes from a different background, but it is clear he didn’t use overtly racist language.”
Adjourning sentencing for further reports, chairman of the bench Robert Cox said: “You have accepted threatening behaviour and criminal damage offences but we have come to the conclusion they were racially aggravated.
“Mr Mitchell’s use of words in both interview and the witness box demonstrates an underlying hostility to racial minorities.”
Sentencing was adjourned until Friday July 8 awaiting further reports.
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