Racial abuser is forgiven by pupils

KIND-HEARTED pupils have forgiven a recovering alcoholic who threatened and racially abused them inside a secondary school.

Trudie Toker threatened to stab students at St Andrew’s CofE High School in Croydon and told teachers the pupils needed “their black heads bashed in”.

The 33-year-old was drunk when she entered the school grounds in Warrington Road and launched the vicious attack on May 21.

The pupils met with teachers after the verbal assault and were offered support and the chance to discuss their thoughts and feelings.

Instead of feeling angry and upset, the students said they felt sorry for Toker as it was clear she had a drinking problem.

Head teacher David Matthews said he was proud of the school’s students for showing such compassion.

He added: “As a Christian school, we encourage forgiveness as an active force for good.

“Prayer is a natural Christian response to situations that we do not fully understand.

“That some St Andrew’s students have wanted to pray about this woman shows their commitment to a better society where distress and pain are reduced.”

Toker appeared at Croydon Crown Court on March 18 after pleading guilty to using racially threatening words and possession of a bladed article.

The court heard she had also brought out a knife in front of a mother and baby on a bus on February 10 last year.

Defending Toker, Oliver Weetch said his client was trying to give up alcohol and had already managed to quit heroin.

Toker, who lives on the same road as the school, told the Advertiser she shouted the abuse in retaliation after the pupils insulted her.

She also claimed that her neighbour had suffered because of antisocial behaviour from pupils and she was sticking up for her.

While Toker admitted she had a fiery temper, she denied being a racist.

“I have mixed-race people in my family,” she said.

“I retaliated and I shouldn’t have done. I should have known better because I’m older.”

Toker was sentenced to nine months in jail suspended for 18 months, and ordered to complete an alcohol treatment programme.

Judge Daniel Flahive told the defendant she needed psychological help and supervision within the community.

He added: “I was of the view that there was no option but to send you to prison, but I am going to give you a chance.”

This is Croydon

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