Grandparents are jailed after ‘Nazi salutes’ in gang attack

THREE grandparents have been jailed for attacking a couple outside a pub – because they thought the male victim was Polish.

Paul Clarke, Sean Pickerill and Judith Pickerill – all in their forties – took part in the assault on Slovakian Milan Panacek and his English girlfriend Genevieve Barnett during a night out in Newcastle.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard tension had sparked between the male defendants and Mr Panacek because of the design of T-shirts they were wearing.

Sean Pickerill’s top bore the logo ‘Blood and Honour – England’, while Clarke’s had the brand ‘One True Saxon’.

Mr Panacek’s shirt had a quote in Spanish relating to the country’s civil war.

Following a disagreement on the dancefloor of The Rigger pub, Mr Panacek and Miss Barnett went outside where they were attacked by a group of around eight people, which included the defendants.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Power said: “They were shouting racial abuse about Mr Panacek being Polish.

“He tried to tell them he wasn’t Polish.

“Judith Pickerill punched Miss Barnett and scratched her to the face.

She pulled her backwards, pulling at her hair extensions.

“She fell to the floor and hit her head on the pavement.

“Her extensions were pulled out at the roots and blood was coming from her head.”

Judith Pickerill, aged 45, of St Bernard’s Road, Newcastle, went on to assault the pub’s manager Robert Birchill.

Father-of-three Sean Pickerill, aged 46, and Clarke were attacking Mr Panacek.

Police arrived to find the group which included the defendants making Nazi salutes and shouting: “Go back to your own country.”

Miss Power said witnesses described the group as ‘like a pack of animals’.

The court heard Miss Barnett suffered injuries including concussion and whiplash, and suffered blackouts after the incident.

Mr Panacek, who has lived in the UK for six years, had a fractured nose.

All three defendants pleaded guilty to racially aggravated assault occasioning actually bodily harm. Judith Pickerill also admitted common assault.

The court heard they all had previous convictions but had not been in trouble for a number of years.

Marc Davies, representing Judith Pickerill and 47-year-old Clarke, also of St Bernard’s Road, said: “They are ashamed and very sorry.

“These are two people that had been out of trouble for a long time, addressed any issues with drugs and settled down with families and full time employment.

“They are active and involved grandparents.”

Paul Cliff, representing Sean Pickerill, of St Giles Road, Knutton – who also has a grandchild – said: “He works in the construction industry alongside people from all over the world including Eastern Europeans and there have been no problems.”

Judge David Fletcher sentenced each defendant to 12 months in prison. He told them: “This was an ugly, appalling incident. Your racial comments, in the hearing of numerous people, were completely ignorant. You are three people in your mid-forties. That makes this offence even more shocking.”

Stoke Sentinel

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