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A serial criminal who launched a foul-mouthed racist attack on a woman wearing an Islamic head garment has been locked up for more than a year.

Peter Scotter’s barrister insisted it was no co-incidence that his client committed the offences just weeks after the Brexit referendum last year and amid continued political discussions

“playing the race card”.

Scotter, 56, of Beach Street, Roker, Sunderland, assaulted the mother, who was shopping with her nine-year-old son and husband, and said “you are in our country now” before beginning his tirade of racial abuse.

The force he then used to pull off the niqab garment in July last year in the Bridges Shopping Centre, Sunderland, caused her to fall to the floor.

Tony Hawks, defending, told Newcastle Crown Court that in the weeks leading up to the attack certain politicians and sections of the press had been “playing the race card”.

He said there was “no doubt that what he did was an ignorant and despicable piece of behaviour” and he was an “ignorant and ill-educated man” who “knows nothing whatsoever about Islam”.

But he added: “It’s no coincidence that this occurred within a week or so of the Brexit referendum. Where the press and politicians were banging the drum about taking our country back.

“They were playing the race card and, in the case of Ukip, a disgraceful advertisement showing a queue of refugees.

“He has to take responsibility for his own actions, but is it simply a coincidence that after listening to weeks of that rhetoric the defendant was not affected?”

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court that Scotter was escorted out of the centre by a security guard after the assault but refused to comply with two police community support officers and continued the torrent of abuse.

At a previous hearing he admitted racially aggravated assault by beating and racially aggravated harassment.

He has also been receiving treatment for cancer in his mouth, meaning Monday’s sentencing hearing was postponed a number of times.

The court heard he had 70 previous convictions, including throwing bricks with racist stickers on them at a house with refugees inside.

Mr Pallister said the victim described how she regularly suffers abuse but that this was way beyond what she and her family normally endured.

She said it had left her fearful to go out and “disgusted” that it had happened in front of her son.

Members of the public who ran to her help spoke of their shock and one shop assistant said she was moved to tears.

Jailing Scotter for 15 months, Judge Stephen Earl said he had used “appalling language” in a public place.

He said: “Comments such as these cannot be acceptable in a civilised society.”

He also ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £140.

Sunderland Echo

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A man who pulled a niqab off a woman’s face and called her a “stupid” Muslim has been jailed for 15 months.

Peter Scotter shouted “You are in our country now” when he attacked his victim, who was with her young son, at a Sunderland shopping centre last July.

The 56-year-old, of Beach Street, Roker, had admitted racially aggravated assault by beating and racially aggravated harassment.

He was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.

The judge said it was “appalling abusive behaviour grounded in religious bigotry”.

At an earlier hearing, the court was told the victim, 29, was standing outside the Bridges shopping centre when Scotter grabbed her veil and almost threw her to the ground.

After his arrest, he said: “She could have been a bomber.”

His victim was left feeling as if she could not go out, prosecutor Laura Lax said.

Tony Hawks, defending, said Scotter had recently been diagnosed with a cancerous tumour under his tongue and was due to undergo surgery.

He had 66 previous convictions, including actual bodily harm and racially aggravated criminal damage.
BBC News

A street assault victim found her attacker sound asleep in her bed when she returned home after the violence.

The woman was battered and bruised, with a shoeprint on her face, after a beating in the street by Jordan Stacey.

Newcastle Crown Court heard when the injured mum realised the 24-year-old was asleep in her bed and could not be woken, she locked him in the house and the police were contacted.

Prosecutor Paul Rowland told the court the victim had been in a previous relationship with Stacey, which had broken up a year before the attack on May 8.

Mr Rowland said the former couple had been on the same night out in Ashington where they had kissed and spent time together.

During the evening, the victim began to suspect Stacey had taken her telephone and a bunch of keys, which sparked violence when she confronted him.

The court heard during an initial attack Stacey knocked his victim unconscious with a blow.

When she came to and asked him for her belongings, the violence flared again.

Mr Rowland said: “He punched her with fists, knocked her to the floor and while on the floor she was kicked and stamped on, numerous times.”

The court heard Stacey ran off from the attack, which happened near a pizza shop and the injured victim eventually made her way home.

Mr Rowland added: “She found her front door open. She found her keys and her mobile phone on the table and the defendant was upstairs in bed, asleep.

“She tried to rouse him to get him out of the house.

“He could not be roused therefore she left and locked the defendant in the house.”

The court heard the victim went to her mother’s house and the police were contacted.

Stacey, of Villette Path, Hendon, Sunderland, was arrested and pleaded guilty to assault.

Stacey, who was on a suspended sentence and a conditional discharge at the time, pleaded guilty to assault.

He has previous convictions for domestic violence.

Judge Penny Moreland jailed him for 22 months.

The judge told him: “I have seen photographs of the injuries, abrasions to her face and a clear shoe mark plus two black eyes.

“It was a sustained attack.

“It seems you had taken her keys and phone from her.

“You used her keys to get back into her house, where you went to bed.”

Jamie Adams, defending, said Stacey accepts his behaviour was wrong and he has been taking positive steps while in custody.

Mr Adams said Stacey has an employment history and is “not without intelligence”.
Sunderland Echo

A DRUNK dad beat and stamped on his ex-partner ‘like an animal’ and sent threatening, Islamophobic messages after she took a Muslim lover.

Peter Finch was jailed for 12 months at Worcester Crown Court after he beat his ex in a drunken rage which left her with a suspected broken rib.

He denied assault occasioning actual bodily harm against girlfriend Rebecca Harding at her home in Worcester but was found guilty at trial.

The 31-year-old, who said he was a former member of the English Defence League, previously admitted criminal damage to a door and malicious communication which was deemed racially or religiously aggravated between July and October last year.

Finch of Patterdale Drive, Warndon, Worcester, carried out the assault in May last year after Miss Harding, his partner of five years, returned home from work at about 6pm.

Mark Phillips, prosecuting, said: “The relationship was characterised by this defendant becoming aggressive when in drink.

“It was clear he had been out at the pub during the afternoon and was suffering from the effects of drinking too much.

“He accused her of having an affair when she told him she had other plans for the evening other than going out with him.”

The attack happened in a bedroom where she had gone to get changed.

“She described the defendant flying in and punching her in the face.

“The blow with his right hand struck her right cheek. She saw it instantly swelling up. He pushed her to the floor where he held her by the throat.

“She told him she was unable to breathe but still he would not let her go.”

He was described as kneeling on her while he punched her repeatedly in the body.

Mr Phillips said: “Whilst doing so he said ‘this is what I would have done to him’, presumably referring to the man he believed she was having the affair with.

“He stood up. She was curled up in a defensive position, into a ball. She was on her side, exposing her right flank. He then stamped on her ribs.

“She cried out in pain. It was only at that point the defendant seemed to have any sort of remorse about what he had done, saying he was sorry.

“She describes him as behaving like an animal. She had never seen him like that before.”

Miss Harding suffered bruising and a suspected broken rib during the attack. She went to see her doctor and had her medication for depression ‘doubled’, Mr Phillips said.

When Finch learned Miss Harding had travelled to Marrakech and had a new Moroccan boyfriend he sent her a number of abusive texts and WhatsApp messages.

Mr Phillips said: “There was reference to enjoying her time in a burka, clear reference to her being with a Muslim man.

“He refers to himself hating Muslims with a passion and said ‘you were happy to marry a man who hates Muslims with a passion and would wipe them off the planet’. He says he hopes she gets killed.”

In interview he told police: “I was part of the English Defence League.”

Finch represented himself because he was not eligible for legal aid and could not afford to pay anyone to represent him.

He said his ex had sent him messages about sexual activity between her and her new partner. He said: “It was more than disheartening – it was soul-breaking when she sent that to me.”

He added: “I have not been part of the English Defence League for three years. Now my views are completely changed.”

Judge Nicholas Cole said the assault was aggravated because it took place in front of a child. Although the physical injuries were limited to bruising and a suspected broken rib, the emotional impact had been ‘severe’.

He said of the threatening messages that he was satisfied that they were partly motivated by hostility towards Muslims.

He sentenced him to 12 months in custody for the ABH, four weeks for the criminal damage and three months for the malicious communicated with an extra month added because it was religiously/racially aggravated (four months in total). These sentences will be served concurrently to the 12 months, making a total sentence of 12 months.

No separate penalty was imposed for breach of a conditional discharge.

Worcester News

John Blake has been jailed for six years and four months.

John Blake has been jailed for six years and four months.

A thug who tasered a man in the neck after bursting into a block of flats in Scarborough has been jailed for more than six years.

John Henry Blake, 30, rushed into the building armed with a stun gun disguised as a torch and fired at the 28-year-old victim.

The shocking scenes occurred at a multi-occupancy building for young people with behavioural problems, York Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor David Hall said Blake entered the property with two females, including his teenage niece Ellie-Mae Blake. They banged on the victim’s door.

The victim opened the door “in a cautious way, with his shoulder against it”, said the barrister.

“Ellie-Mae Blake and the other female pushed past him and ran into the hallway, followed by the defendant,” he added.

“He (John Blake) is seen to push an instrument into the neck of (the victim), who recoils against the corner of the door frame and rushes outside the building.

“Just behind (the victim) was a second male. Blake points the implement at this second male in the doorway. The male cowers away fearfully.”

Blake and the two females then rushed upstairs where they tried to force their way into a flat on the second floor, “but the occupants refused to respond”, said Mr Hall.

“Blake is holding the stun gun,” he added. “Ellie-Mae Blake is kicking at the door. The occupants are refusing to come out and this group then leaves.”

Police were called to the building in Victoria Court, off Albemarle Back Road, just after the incident at about 10.50pm on February 6 last year.

The victim told them he had been tasered in the neck but was too fearful to make a complaint. He suffered a “significant red mark” to his neck.

Mr Hall said the attack appeared to stem from a “dispute” between the attackers and a male who lived at the block of flats.

Police arrested Blake at his home in Scarborough but he refused to reveal the whereabouts of the weapon, which was at the home of Blake’s pal Lewis Hardy.

The court heard that Hardy, 19, had been guarding the weapon for Blake but had taken no part in the attack. The torch-shaped stun gun was stamped with the word ‘Police’.

Mr Hall said that Blake, of The Croft, Newby, had dozens of previous convictions for burglaries, theft, criminal damage, violence, fraud and drink-related public disorder. He also had a conviction for a previous firearms offence in 2005, when he was caught in possession of a loaded air rifle and ammunition.

He appeared for sentence for the stun-gun incident on Friday after belatedly pleading guilty to possessing a disguised firearm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and failing to answer bail by skipping an earlier court hearing, which resulted in him being remanded in custody in October.

His lawyer David Camidge claimed it was not Blake who had originally been in possession of the gun and that his niece Ellie-Mae Blake, 19, had asked for it back “because she was fearful that she wouldn’t be able to get it back to where it had come from”.

Judge Paul Batty QC said John Blake had been the “leading light” in the terrifying incident and slammed him for his shocking criminal record.

He told the defendant: “You Tasered in the neck this young man who refused to make a statement. It doesn’t take a degree of imagination to understand why that is.”

Blake was jailed for six years and four months.

At a previous court hearing, Mr Batty jailed Ellie-Mae Blake, of Edgehill Road, Scarborough, for five years after she admitted possessing a disguised firearm.

Hardy, of Seamer Road, Scarborough, was given an 18-month suspended prison term for a similar offence. A third male was given the minimum five-year jail sentence for firearms possession.

Scarborough News


A Forest Town man has been jailed for 14 years after police arrived at a house to find him strangling his ex-partner.

Joe Liffen was seen by an officer with his hands around the throat of the victim, who had lost consciousness, following a brutal and sustained attack, during which time he also punched the victim repeatedly.

Liffen, 26, of Cardle Close, jumped out of the bedroom window and fled after Nottinghamshire Police arrived at the scene at the victim’s home in Mansfield Woodhouse, in the early hours of November 15 2016.

Liffen admitted causing grievous bodily harm, breaching a restraining order and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice at a previous hearing. At Nottingham Crown Court today (Thursday 9 February) he was sentenced to 11 years for GBH, three years for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, to run consecutively and one year for breaching a restraining order, to run concurrently.

His aunt, Samantha Bailey, 48, of Chapel Fields, Ravenshead, was also sentenced to 15 months in prison after admitting conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The court was told Liffen had previously received an 18-week jail sentence for assaulting the victim in March 2015 and a two-year restraining order, effective from his release, banning him from making contact with her. Despite the order he repeatedly made contact with her and tried to rekindle their relationship.

Liffen had a drink and drugs problem and was a “jealous” man, the court was told.

On the day of the latest assault, Liffen told the victim he was going to visit his ex-wife in Manchester. She then went for a night out with friends in Mansfield and was given a lift home by a male friend, who came into the house to use her downstairs toilet. When she went upstairs Liffen was waiting for her and put his hand over her mouth and told her not to speak, before throwing her on to the bed and repeatedly punching her in the face and head.

The 16st Liffen then sat on top of the 8st victim and started to strangle her.

Her friend heard the ordeal from downstairs and phoned the police, who arrived quickly and entered the house while the attack was still ongoing, before Liffen escaped.

The victim regained consciousness but started having seizures. She suffered bruising to her face and head, neck and throat and had a one-inch cut to the top of her left thigh.

Officers tracked down Liffen later that day and arrested him.

The court was told that while Liffen was remanded in custody in connection with the offence he sent numerous texts to the victim, trying to encourage her not to turn up to court to give evidence against him.

He also colluded with Bailey in an attempt to make her miss the court appearance.

The court was told Bailey paid for a hotel and beauty treatments in Nottingham for the victim on the day of the court appearance before sending a text saying “I’m making someone disappear.”

Speaking after the case, Temporary Detective Inspector Nikki Smith, of Nottinghamshire Police, who led the investigation, said: “This was a vicious, sustained attack on a vulnerable woman who had no chance of defending herself.

“She is lucky to be alive after the attack and, as the judge said, if it hadn’t been for the fast response of our officers this could have had an even more serious ending.

“Both Liffen and Bailey also put pressure on this vulnerable woman to miss her court date in an attempt to avoid justice being done.

“Domestic violence will not be tolerated in any form in Nottinghamshire and we would urge anyone who is a victim or a witness to domestic abuse to call us and we will do everything in our power to bring the perpetrators before the court.”

Mansfield Chad

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Court hears Peter Scotter yelled ‘you’re in our country now’ at victim, who was in shopping centre with nine-year-old son

 Peter Scotter gesturing to the media outside Newcastle crown court. Photograph: Nigel Roddis/PA


Peter Scotter gesturing to the media outside Newcastle crown court. Photograph: Nigel Roddis/PA

A man has admitted pulling a niqab off a woman in a shopping centre and yelling racist abuse at her.

Peter Scotter, 55, of Roker, Sunderland, appeared at Newcastle crown court to admit racially aggravated assault by beating and a separate charge of racially aggravated harassment.

Both offences were based on Scotter’s hostility towards a particular religious group, namely Islam, the court heard.

Tony Hawks, defending, said Scotter had been diagnosed with a serious cancerous tumour under his tongue last week and was due to have an operation next Monday. “I have seen some documentation showing that the diagnosis is pretty bad,” the barrister said.

The judge, Stephen Earl, said he would sentence Scotter later, once he had heard more details about the diagnosis. The judge said: “This is a custodial-band sentence, given his record and the nature of his actions.”

A previous hearing at Sunderland magistrates court heard how Scotter left his victim terrified when he attacked her in July.

Laura Lax, prosecuting, told the hearing the woman was waiting with her nine-year-old son for her husband outside a store in Bridges shopping centre in Sunderland when a man “purposefully” walked towards her and grabbed her niqab.

The force he used almost threw her to the ground and the niqab came away from her face, exposing her and causing pain to her neck.

She remembered being scared but was so shocked she could not remember what was said, magistrates were told. The niqab was damaged, but she has since repaired it.

Lax told the court the victim said afterwards: “This incident has left me scared to go out and I don’t want to go into town again. I am disgusted my nine-year-old son had to witness this.”

Another witness heard Scotter shout: “Here, take that fucking off, you are in our country now, you stupid fucking Muslim.”

When a police officer arrived, Scotter was being spoken to by a security guard and the defendant tried to walk away.

Scotter was heard to say: “Our Britain, you live by our fucking rules,” before coming out with more racist abuse.

He continued to make derogatory comments when he was interviewed after his arrest, Lax said.

When he attended previous hearings about the niqab offence, Scotter made a middle finger gesture to photographers outside court.

He has 66 previous convictions for 157 offences, including actual bodily harm, breaching a football banning order and racially aggravated criminal damage.

Scotter had been due to stand trial for the niqab offences next month.

The judge told Scotter he would be sentenced in three weeks’ time and granted him conditional bail.

As Scotter left court, he declined to answer why he was covering his face with a scarf and gestured defiantly to waiting photographers.

The Guardian