Racist rant thug with ‘grenade’ and sword who pledged to slash Muslims in viral video is jailed

Paul Hepplestall said he had suffered three ‘savage attacks’ in jail – the last leaving him permanently scarred – and his family had been threatened

A thug who made a racist video threatening to slash Muslims and blow up mosques in the wake of two UK terrorist attacks was today jailed.

Paul Hepplestall filmed himself posing with a sword and a plastic grenade hanging from his t-shirt during the explicit rant.

The hate video – recorded two weeks after the Manchester Arena bombing and the day after the London Bridge attack – went viral.

The 40-year-old, of Cornwallis Street, Liverpool city centre, said: “This is a quick message to Muslims, p***s and terrorists, you can’t call yourself terrorists, cowards is what I want to call youse.

“Yeah, you run in with bombs strapped to use and blow yourself up, where there’s a bunch of innocent kids. There is nothing terrorising about that.

“Let me tell you, I will get people to run in your mosques with pineapples [a reference to grenades, prosecutors said], blow your mosques off this f***ing planet.

“Yeah, I will cut each one of your ears off with a sword, I will cut your fingers, your toes, I will cut you a thousand times until you bleed out.”

Trevor Parry-Jones, prosecuting, said he recorded and uploaded the “horrific video” some time on June 4 and, within hours, police forces across the country were receiving complaints.

He said Hepplestall was “aggressive and blunt”, adding: “It was particularly provocative and rather appalling in nature.”

Muslim parents in Merseyside, Bristol, Newcastle, Scotland and as far away as Yemen told Liverpool Crown Court they feared for their safety.

Hepplestall went on to make two more short videos, claiming the first one had just been a joke and saying he had friends in the ethnic community.

But Mr Parry-Jones said: “It was not considered to be a joke, because of the chilling nature.”

Police identified him but, before he was found, he handed himself in on June 5 and told officers: “I’m not a bad person, it was a bad massive mistake.”

Hepplestall was accused of using racially-aggravated, threatening language and threatening to destroy or damage property.

He said Hepplestall, who knew someone at the concert and had been drunk, tried to “redress the balance” after being “completely moronic”.

Mr Morgan said he had suffered three “savage attacks” in jail – the last leaving him permanently scarred – and his family had been threatened.

Jailing him for 20 months, Judge Elizabeth Nicholls said: “On the 22nd of May of this year, a number of innocent people were killed and injured at the Manchester Arena due to the actions of a suicide bomber.

“Manchester and the rest of the country were appalled by this atrocity. But Manchester’s response was to kick back at the fear and hatred intended by this act, and (come) together.

“Those of any faith or no faith stood shoulder-to-shoulder in condemning the act and supporting each other. It was a community brought together.

“A second terror attack occurred on the 3rd of June. This time in London but, again, the reaction was one that people can rightly be proud.

“People looked for a commonality, shared interests, provided support, and as one voice condemned the action.

“You recorded yourself on your phone, and uploaded that message to the internet. The message was threatening, frightening and full of racial bile. That message went viral.”

Judge Nicholls said his video caused “fear, anger and distress” to Muslims across the world.

She said: “They all believed you capable of carrying out the atrocities that you speak of.

“Many have children and describe their fear that they and their children may be attacked as they go about their everyday business.

“And, although it was obvious to them that you came from Liverpool, all were concerned as to the demons you may unleash in others.

“This video is offensive and obscene to any right-minded person, regardless of their belief system. It is unacceptable, not only because it is contrary to the law, but it is contrary to the standard we expect from anyone who lives in a civilised community.

“Your recording did exactly what the terrorist, that you purported to condemn, aimed to do – you spread the word of hatred, dissent and caused significant fear amid the community at large.”

The judge said the offence was “possibly the worse example of its kind”.

She added: “One would have hoped that hatred based on someone’s religious beliefs was something that we left behind centuries ago. Your words and recording are abhorrent to all civilised individuals.”

Liverpool Echo

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