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actual bodily harm

A THUG who repeatedly punched an anti-fascist protester in front of children during an EDL march in Hull city centre has walked free from court. John Claydon, 46, was caught on CCTV punching David Harding, who was part of a small group of men and women taking part in a counter-protest.

John Claydon is arrested after the assault during the EDL march in Hull.

John Claydon is arrested after the assault during the EDL march in Hull.

Yesterday, Recorder Michael Smith sentenced Claydon who has convictions for violence from 1999, 2001 and 2007 to an 18-month community order and 100 hours’ unpaid work.

HGV driver Clayon, 46, of Dronfield, Derbyshire, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Prosecutor Stephen Welch told Hull Crown Court: “On Saturday, August 17, the EDL held a march within Hull city centre. There was a heavy police presence, with some 300 people on the march, as it passed along Ferensway, past St Stephen’s shopping centre.
“At approximately 2.20pm, it became clear that there were six to eight people who were protesting against the EDL. The complainant had been holding a banner stating that Hull is multicultural.”

Mr Welch said the protesters, members of the group United Against Fascism, had been holding a “silent protest”.
CCTV captured the moment two men, identified as Claydon and Melvyn Parker, broke away from the main EDL group.

Mr Welch said: “Mr Parker grabbed the banner that Mr Harding had been holding and tried to push it away.

John Clayton restrained by police

John Clayton restrained by police

“He then pushed a female who approached him. That concluded his involvement.

“Mr Claydon then punched Mr Harding repeatedly in the face. Mr Claydon continued to punch him while Mr Harding was on the floor.

“It did not cease until he was hauled off Mr Harding by PCSOs.”

The attack happened in full view of children, said Mr Welch.

Mr Harding suffered a cut to his forehead, which required ten stitches, and two black eyes, and was off work for a week.

Following the attack, he had trouble sleeping and is psychologically scarred, said Mr Welch.

Claydon admitted having attended previous EDL meetings, where he claimed to have been attacked, physically and verbally, by anti-fascist protesters.

During an earlier hearing, Claydon had refuted the prosecution’s case that he had punched Mr Harding up to six times.

Richard Thompson, defending, said his client claimed to have heard members of the rival group shouting insults at soldiers.

Mr Welch strongly denied this suggestion.

Mr Thompson said: “Mr Claydon accepts that he allowed his emotions to get the better of him.

“The assault was over within ten seconds. This was not a sustained attack.”

Sentencing, Recorder Smith said it was a sensitive case, but told Claydon the politics of the march was “of no concern” to him.

He said: “I am sentencing you purely and simply for the act of violence in a public place.”

As part of his punishment, Claydon must complete an anger management course and pay Mr Harding – who was not present in court – £500 compensation.

Parker, 46, of Mansfield, Nottingham, was made to pay £265 costs at a hearing at Hull Magistrates’ Court on September 1.

Hull Daily Mail

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A MAN repeatedly punched an anti-fascist protester in front of children during an EDL march in Hull, a court has heard.

John Claydon, 46, was pictured by the Mail being dragged away by police officers seconds after the attack.

John Claydon is arrested during the EDL march in Hull on August 17. Inset, from top, Melvyn Parker, Wayne Douglas and David Bolton

John Claydon is arrested during the EDL march in Hull on August 17. Inset, from top, Melvyn Parker, Wayne Douglas and David Bolton

He was one of four men who appeared before city magistrates yesterday in connection with trouble at the August 17 march .

Claydon, of Dronfield, Derbyshire, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Prosecutor Deborah Gibson told Hull Magistrates’ Court how Claydon had lashed out at David Harding, part of a six to eight-strong group taking part in a “silent” protest, holding placards, outside St Stephen’s shopping centre in Ferensway.

She said: “This defendant tried to grab Mr Harding’s placard, which simply stated Hull was a multicultural place, before repeatedly punching him in the face, forcing him to the floor.

“He continued to punch Mr Harding. Mr Harding was punched about six times to the face.

“The attack was only stopped when police officers dragged him off Mr Harding.”

Mr Harding was left with a cut to his face, which required ten stitches, as well as two black eyes.

Miss Gibson said Mr Harding’s mobile phone was also broken, most likely when he was forced to the ground.

She said a key aggravating feature of the attack was the fact that it was carried out in front of families on a Saturday afternoon.

“The assault was in full view of children,” said Miss Gibson.

More than 400 EDL supporters took part in the march, with all those arrested having travelled to Hull from elsewhere.

Ian Phillips, defending, said his client admits attacking Mr Harding, but denies punching him several times.

He said: “My client argues there were two punches, not the five, six or more as the Crown describes.”

Claydon was granted bail on condition he resides at his usual address and will be sentenced at Hull Crown Court on September 20.

Meanwhile, Melvyn Parker, 46, of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, admitted using threatening and abusive language against Mr Harding.

Parker also admitting possession of cocaine, a class A-controlled drug.

Miss Gibson said: “As the march proceeded along Ferensway at around 2.40pm, there was another group protesting against the EDL. No gestures were being made.”

Referring to Claydon and Parker, Miss Gibson said: “Two males broke away and approached these protesters.

“Mr Parker grabbed a banner from one of these protesters to try to stop the protest. That protester was Mr Harding.

“Mr Parker pushed, albeit lightly, a female who was with Mr Harding.

“When Mr Parker was arrested, he was found to be in possession of a small quantity of cocaine.”

Defending, Dave Robson said Parker – a dad-of-two and a struggling bricklayer – was drunk and became “caught in the political passion” of the EDL march, but regrets his actions.

Mr Robson said: “He says he was called names, including a Nazi, which upset him. He took offence to that and grabbed the placard.”

Parker was ordered to pay £265 costs.

David Bolton, 52, of Braintree, Essex, who has the letters EDL tattooed on the back of his head and a red rose on his neck, pleaded guilty to using threatening words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

The court heard staff at the Star and Garter pub in Portland Street called police at 3.25am on August 17 because they believed a group of men were carrying knives.

Bolton was searched and no weapon was found.

However, he was arrested after ignoring seven warnings from police to stop shouting obscenities at them, said Miss Gibson.

Defending, Mr Phillips, said: “He admitted that he could not keep his mouth shut.”

Wayne Douglas, 43, of Hemsworth, West Yorkshire, admitted charges of being drunk and disorderly and possession of cannabis, a class B-controlled drug.

Miss Gibson said Douglas was caught by officers urinating in the street “in full view” of passers- by.

He was subsequently searched and a small amount of the drug was found in a tin.

Both Bolton and Douglas were given 18-month conditional discharges and ordered to pay £100 in costs.

This is Hull

Searchlight can exclusively reveal that the leader of the English Defence League is a former British National Party member who has served 12 months’ imprisonment for assaulting an off-duty police officer.

Tommy Robinson in Newcastle Searchlight can exclusively reveal that the leader of the English Defence League is a former British National Party member who has served 12 months’ imprisonment for assaulting an off-duty police officer.

Self-proclaimed EDL leader Tommy Robinson is really Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, from Bedford.

In 2004 he joined the BNP with a family membership. In the same year he assaulted an off-duty police officer who intervened to stop a domestic incident between Yaxley-Lennon and his partner Jenna Vowles. During the scuffle Yaxley-Lennon kicked the officer in the head.

He was convicted on 18 April 2005 for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, for which he was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, and assault with intent to resist arrest, for which he received a concurrent term of three months.

Vowles, also a BNP member, was cautioned for possession of cocaine. She told the court that the she found two empty bags in her house and was taking them out so that her parents did not find them.

Yaxley-Lennon attended Putteridge High School in Luton and moved to nearby Bedford more recently. Robinson also claims on his Facebook site that he attended Putteridge school.

The revelation that Robinson had been a member of the BNP explains why so many of the initial EDL activists also attended BNP meetings in the Luton/Bedford area.

More importantly, it dispels the myth that the roots of the EDL are not in hard-core racism.

It destroys the protestations by the EDL leadership that, “They aren’t the BNP and they aren’t Nazis,” made at their phoney press conference held last September in a disused Luton warehouse, where they unfurled a swastika flag and proceeded to try to set it alight for the cameras.

It also explains the real reason why Robinson felt the need to hide his face.

Robinson’s reaction on Facebook to his exposure
Robinson’s reaction on Facebook to his exposure

Apart from his BNP membership and his convictions for violence, Robinson told a BBC film crew that he lived in a part of Luton where Islamic fanatics lived and that he feared for his safety. The reality is somewhat different as he lives in Wilstead, a relatively leafy village on the outskirts of Bedford.

The exposure of his identity follows a split in the EDL that is mostly being fought over the internet.

Paul Ray, self-styled spiritual guru of the EDL, has posted a series of messages on his Lionheart blog, in which he and his friend Nick Greger announce their intention to take control of the EDL. Ray was the original mover in creating the EDL, although he quickly fell out with the other leaders and moved abroad to Malta. Ray has focused his efforts on making Crusader-themed anti-Muslim promotional videos, and he and Greger have just issued a notice of “expulsion” of the EDL’s leaders, together with a demand for control of the EDL’s websites.

In one of their videos Greger goes on to say “another well-known man will soon appear within the new leadership, a man from Ulster, who is also currently in exile”.

The real face of the EDL leader: Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, alias Tommy Robinson

This is almost certainly a reference to Greger’s friend Johnny Adair, a prominent loyalist terrorist who now lives in Scotland following an intra-loyalist feud. Adair’s friendship with Greger was the subject of a television documentary in 2006, when Adair met Greger while in prison for plotting acts of terror and was then the head of a nazi group in Dresden, Germany.

It is thought that Ray and Greger were responsible for the appearance of a video on YouTube that unveiled Robinson as Stephen Yaxley along with a series of photographs, following outlandish claims by Ray that the EDL led by Robinson threatened to kidnap and harm members of Ray’s family.

Robinson later confirmed on his Facebook page that the photographs were indeed of him, saying, “Hey at least people can see my hansome [sic] face now”.
Note: Simon Cressy has asked that we credit the blogger Richard Bartholomew (source) for the heads up on Adair/Greiger, and apologises for inadvertently omitting this source.

Hope not Hate

A RACIST thug who punched a taxi driver and dragged him along a street, has been jailed for 18 months.

Lee Preston, 22, targeted cabbie Mohammed Rashid, leaving him with two black eyes, a bruised face and grazes to his shoulders caused when he was dragged to the ground.

Mr John Hallisey, prosecuting, said the cabbie received a call at 9pm on April 16 to collect five men from Chaddesden.

He noticed they were carrying cans of lager and told them these could not be drunk in his vehicle

But after a few minutes, the men started drinking.

“Mr Rashid told them to stop and the response was to start hurling abuse.

“The defendant was saying ‘we are EDL,’ referring to the English Defence League,” said Mr Hallisey.

Preston, of Walbrook Road, Derby, began to throw beer cans out of the taxi until Mr Rashid closed the windows – a move which angered the passengers.

Mr Rashid stopped his cab and told the five to leave.

One said: “Get out and we’ll sort you out.”

When they eventually left, they failed to close the rear doors but Mr Rashid waited until he thought they had walked away before getting out of the cab..

But he was then grabbed and prevented from getting back into the vehicle before being attacked.

During this, he heard chants of “EDL” and one man said: “I’m going to kill you.”

When a second taxi driver stopped to help, he was also assaulted and had his vehicle kicked.

Police were called and Preston was found hiding under a bush.

He admitted affray and racially aggravated assault causing actual bodily harm.

Judge Granville Styler told Preston: “In drink you are a complete lout. This will tarnish your whole career if you are not very careful. This was a disgraceful episode as you no doubt now realise.”

Clive Stockwell, mitigating, told the court: “His record is of a nuisance drunk. I have read a statement from his father who is clearly of the view that his son had a difficulty with drink and he then behaves in a most disgraceful way.”

Mr Stockwell said Preston had gained some educational qualifications while in custody. When he is freed, his father plans to find him work on market stalls.”

The judge told Preston: “It may well be you find on the market stall most of your customers will be Pakistani people so you will have to change your attitude pretty quickly.”

Three other men have pleaded not guilty to charges arising from the night and are awaiting trial. A fifth man has pleaded guilty.

Derby Telegraph

Bernard Holmes, EDL thug with multiple convictions for violence.

Bernard Holmes, EDL thug with multiple convictions for violence.

A FAMILY has hit out at the sentence given to a man who caused ‘catastrophic’ injuries when he threw two punches outside a Blackburn nightspot.

Bernard Holmes, 24, of Coleridge Street, Blackburn, is starting a two-year, four month sentence after admitting grievous bodily harm (GBH) on Sean Baxendale.

But after the case Mr Baxendale’s sister slammed the sentence, saying Holmes, who had previous convictions for common assault and actual bodily, harm, was a ‘dangerous man’ who should have got life.

Holmes threw two punches at Mr Baxendale, 44, outside Bar Ibiza, Mincing Lane, in what the court heard was an unprovoked attack on May 17.

The second strike connected and knocked him out.

Mr Baxendale suffered an extensive skull fracture and had to have bones removed in order to relieve pressure on his brain.

After months in hospital, he was left with a continuing brain injury, often getting confused over simple things.

Once a fit and active man, he had undergone a personality change following the attack, Preston Crown Court was told.

Mr Baxendale’s sister Maggie Garth said the whole family was devastated by the attack.

She said: “His personality has changed. Sean was lively and outgoing. Now he has not got the same patience. He had to learn and talk again.

“He will be living with it for the rest of his life.”

The attack on Mr Baxendale, and the killings of Adam Rogers and Christopher Folkes in Blackburn, prompted his nephew Kirk Bullen to launch the Make Lancashire Safer Campaign.

Maggie said the judge had undermined this battle: “I think the sentence handed out is atrocious and the courts have let us down.

“There are campaigns against violence. How can you can make a town safer if the courts aren’t helping us?

“The sentence has just knocked us all for six. To me, with his previous convictions, you should get life.”

After the case, Detective Constable Mark Cruise said: “This type of incident shows that even one punch can have horrific consequences.”

Holmes had stood trial on a more serious charge of GBH with intent, but a jury had found him not guilty .

The court was told that initially, another man (not the defendant) was seen arguing with Mr Baxendale outside the premises.

Stephen McNally, prosecuting, said that male punched Mr Baxendale to the face.

Holmes then crossed the road and struck out at Mr Baxendale.

A second blow knocked him to the ground, where he lay unconscious, having struck his head with some force as he fell.

Holmes had previous convictions including five acts of common assault and one of actual bodily harm.

Daniel King, defending, said: “The defendant says the extent of Mr Baxendale’s injuries have shocked him, in fact, appalled him.

“He had no intention to cause any serious injury.”

Lancashire Telegraph

A WOMAN attacked several police officers, biting one, after her arrest during an English Defence League rally, a court heard.

Police initially went to the aid of Antonia Claire Evans, who was suffering a suspected broken arm after a scuffle during the demonstration, in November last year.

However, Durham Crown Court heard that a stand-off developed, before the officers tried to lift Evans out through the crowd.

Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said Evans shouted and swore and, despite her injury, lashed out at the officers with her injured arm.

She punched another officer in the groin and headbutted a third after they tried to pin her to the ground.

Amid efforts to put her into a police van, to remove her and place her in a cell at a police station, she continued to struggle, biting a custody officer’s index finger.

Miss Masters said the officer had to hit her three times to make her release her grip.

The officer’s finger was cut by the bite, while another officer lost clumps of hair grabbed by Evans during the struggle.

Miss Masters said the arrest at the rally, in Preston, Lancashire, was the culmination of a series of incidents involving Evans.

It included biting a security guard in the chest on June 3 as he tried to detain her outside the Tesco shop in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, on suspicion of shoplifting.

In a further incident, in October, she set a Staffordshire bull terrier and an alsatian on her then partner as he left her home in Newton Aycliffe after a row.

Miss Masters said both dogs attacked and bit the man several times, while she landed several punches.

Evans, 24, of Mellanby Crescent, admitted four charges of assault causing actual bodily harm, three of common assault and being the owner of a dog dangerously out of control.

Julie Clemitson, for Evans, said she has spent 123 days in custody, during which time she has progressed with psychiatric assistance.

Judge John Evans said that because of the time she had spent in custody, he could pass a prison sentence of 51 weeks, suspended for two years.

She must undergo 12 months of probation supervision, to include sessions addressing alcohol misuse, while continuing to receive psychiatric help.

She was also banned from owning dogs for seven years.

Northern Echo