Archive

Tag Archives: mosque conviction



A MAN has been jailed for nearly two years for attempting to stir up racial hatred on Facebook.

Unemployed Nigel Pelham, 49, suggested Britain should introduce “bomb a mosque day” and invited his Facebook followers to “put a Muslim on top of a bonfire.”

He pleaded guilty to eight counts of publishing threatening written material intending to stir up religious hatred between February 24, 2015 and November 16, 2015, at Lewes Crown Court in March.

Last week he was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court, London, to 20 months for each of the eight counts to run concurrently.

He was also ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge and had two hard drives and his computer confiscated.

The charges are not used very often and are so serious they needed apporval from the Attorney General.

Pelham, of Freehold Street, Shoreham, previously denied the charges when he appeared before magistrates in Worthing last month.

Sergeant Peter Allan, from Sussex Police’s hate crime unit, said: “The charges brought in this case are extremely serious and were only brought against four people in England and Wales during 2016.

“Nigel Pelham used Facebook to express some truly offensive views, with no understanding of how serious his actions were.

“Many people see social media as a harmless and sometimes faceless place to air their opinions, however I hope this shows we will not tolerate this type of behaviour and will act when someone reports their concern about what someone is posting.”

He sentencing came just days before a man drove a van into a crowd of Muslim worshippers in north London. One man died and several others remain in hospital.

Sgt Allan said: “I hope the sentence acts as a deterrent and sends a reassuring message to those who may be directly targeted or are more widely affected by people’s use of social media to spread messages of fear and hate. I encourage people who witness such content, to report it to the provider of the social media platform, but such reports can also be made to us online.”

Brighton Argus

Simon Neve shared offensive images and posted the comments between July 26 and 28 last year, Cambridge Magistrates’ Court was told

A Cambridge man shared “nasty” and “offensive” images on Facebook, including one that said ‘keep calm and burn a mosque’, a court heard.

Simon Neve, of Trevone Place in Cambridge, commented on social media last year saying it would be “nice” if mosques were on fire in the UK.

The 46-year-old shared the images and posted the comments between July 26 and 28 last year, Cambridge Magistrates’ Court was told.

Neve previously pleaded guilty to five charges of sending an offensive or menacing message via a public communication network.

Magistrates adjourned the case for sentence at the same court until 10am on Tuesday, April 4.

Neve was released on unconditional bail.

Emma Howson, prosecuting, said: “The defendant posted pictures and comments on an open Facebook page which are considered to be offensive towards asylum seekers and muslims.

“In a post on July 26, the defendant wrote ‘I reckon a few mosques will be on fire tonight in France, it would be nice to see it in the UK too’.

“Another comment made by the defendant read ‘I think I’m going to kick off in France and mosques are going to be targeted, they are done’.

“In another post he wrote ‘It’s the only way the French are going to get any comeback’.”

Miss Howson said there were also pictures shared on Neve’s Facebook page of an offensive nature.

She told magistrates: “There were also pictures on his Facebook that said ‘keep calm and burn a mosque’.

“This is clearly a hate crime offence. The defendant has a number of previous offences recorded against him. His last racially aggravated offence was in April 2015.”

Neve has 24 previous convictions for 51 offences, some of which were of a similar nature, the court was told.

Monica Lentin, mitigating, said: “There is a basis of plea here; my client does not admit to creating any of the images in this offence but he does admit that he shared them.

“He does accept responsibility for creating and sending messages that we have read but that is the only thing he accepts.

He accepts that people would find these posts hurtful. It is accepted that these are nasty images and this is serious.”

Mrs Lentin said magistrates may feel the offence crosses the custody threshold, but that it would be proper to adjourn the case for reports.

She added: “My client has a long history of mental health problems. He also suffers from personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“He is also on no end of prescribed opiate medication.”

Cambridge News

troll

An internet troll jailed for making death threats and threatening to blow up a mosque has been banned from contacting his victims for five years.

John Nimmo, 28, emailed Labour MP Luciana Berger calling her “Jewish scum” who would “get it like Jo Cox”.

Nimmo was jailed for 27 months last week after admitting nine offences under the Malicious Communications Act.

An order prohibits him from contacting his victims’ close relatives or using a false identity to post comments online.

Nimmo, from South Shields, South Tyneside, faces an additional five years in jail if he breaches the order.

He has also been ordered to give mobile phone, laptop and tablet passwords to police, along with details of his internet usage.

Nimmo had emailed Liverpool Wavertree MP Ms Berger, telling her to “watch your back Jewish scum”.

He also admitted sending emails to an anti-hate crime group in which he threatened to blow up a mosque.

Ms Berger has said she had been left in “huge distress” and “extremely concerned” for her safety.

Nimmo was jailed for 27 months last week after admitting nine offences under the Malicious Communications Act.

He had previously been jailed in 2014 for sending abusive tweets to MP Stella Creasy and feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez.

BBC News

Kevin Crehan (left) and Mark Bennett were part of a group that targeted the mosque in January

Kevin Crehan (left) and Mark Bennett were part of a group that targeted the mosque in January



Two men have been jailed and two women have been given suspended sentences after rashers of bacon were tied to door handles at a Bristol mosque.

During the incident on 17 January, the group shouted racial abuse at a member of the mosque and tied a St George’s flag to the fence of the Jamia Mosque.

Kevin Crehan, 34, of Knowle, was jailed for 12 months and Mark Bennett, 48, of Patchway, for nine months.

Both had admitted religiously aggravated public order offences.

At the Bristol Crown Court hearing, 46-year-old Alison Bennett – the wife of Mark Bennett – was given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years, while Angelina Swales, 31, from Brislington, was handed a four-month sentence, suspended for two years.

‘Worship without fear’

The two women also admitted religiously aggravated public order offences in relation to the targeting of the Totterdown mosque.

All four were given a restraining order preventing them from going within 100m of a mosque anywhere in England or Wales for the next 10 years.

Insp Nigel Colston of Avon and Somerset Police paid tribute to the way the community responded to what happened.

He said: “The way local people came together with overwhelming support for the mosque made me proud to be associated with Bristol.

“There can never be any excuse for hate crime in any shape or form and this criminality will not be tolerated.

“All of our communities have the right to live and worship peacefully without fear of being targeted for their race or religion.”
BBC News

ONE OF the men who admits a racially aggravated attack on Totterdown’s mosque has claimed in court that he didn’t know that bacon was offensive to Muslims.

Mark Bennett, 48, claimed he was not a racist and did not take bacon to the mosque in Green Street on January 17, 2016, intending to cause offence.

Instead, he said, he was trying to raise awareness about the plight of British armed forces veterans and homeless people who he felt deserved more attention.

Bennett, of Spruce Way, Patchway, his wife Alison Bennett, 46, Kevin Crehan, 34, of Springleaze, Knowle, and Angelina Margaret Swales, 31, of West Town Avenue, Brislington, have all pleaded guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence at the Jamia mosque.

Bristol crown court was told on June 17 that during the incident racial abuse was shouted at a Muslim man attending the mosque. Raw bacon was thrown and left hanging from the mosque’s railings and an English flag, the cross of St George, was left on the steps with the legend “No mosques, no refugees”, the prosecution said.

But the two men involved denied being racists, said there was no bacon thrown, and they did not hear any racial abuse. They claimed their protest was peaceful. Crehan said it was an attempt to get Muslims to “integrate”. “I grew up in Totterdown and I have got many, many Muslim friends,” he said.

Bennett drew a parallel with charitable activities.

“In my own time I go to the city centre and take coffee and bacon sandwiches to people who live on the streets,” he said.

Judge Julian Lambert asked Bennett if he expected people at the mosque to eat his bacon sandwiches and be grateful for them.

“Possibly,” Bennett replied. The court had heard that Bennett and his wife had bought the bacon and some bread in a £1 shop in Broadmead the same morning. The barrister for the prosecution, Ian Fenney, asked Bennett: “Did you expect people to eat raw bacon?”

“No,” said Bennett. “Where was the bacon going to be cooked?” asked Mr Fenney.

“It possibly could have been cooked in the mosque. I wouldn’t know, would I?” said Bennett.

He added: “I didn’t know that it was offensive to take bacon to the mosque. If I had known I wouldn’t have taken it. Mr Fenney responded: “I suggest you knew exactly how much offence would be caused by taking raw bacon and that’s why you did it. Why was bacon found on the door handles of the mosque? Because any Muslim entering the mosque would have to touch it.”

Bennett told the court he didn’t know the meaning of the word “jihad”.

The court was also told that in 2008 Crehan racially abused an Asian police officer at Broadbury Road police station, after he was arrested at his home during a domestic disturbance. Crehan said he was high on alcohol and drugs at the time but had since given both up.

Bennett was presented with several Facebook pages, posted in April 2016, in the name Marc Bennet, which contained offensive statements about Muslims and references to a recent attack on a mosque.

Bennett said the pages were not his and suggested they had been created to frame him by left-wing activists. He agreed that he had previously had another Facebook page in the name Mark English.

The four will be sentenced at another hearing on July 22, when the two women will be cross-examined.

The attack on January 17 resulted in an outpouring of support for the Jamia mosque, the oldest in Bristol. Hundreds of people attended an open afternoon the following weekend, and hundreds more pledged their support for the mosque being at the heart of the Totterdown community.

South Bristol Voice

Thomas Johnstone, 29, also reportedly chanted anti-Muslim slogans during a protest organised by the English Defence League

Thomas Johnstone waved an England flag scrawled with 'f*** Islam' across it just 24 hours after Britain voted to leave the EU

Thomas Johnstone waved an England flag scrawled with ‘f*** Islam’ across it just 24 hours after Britain voted to leave the EU

A racist thug waved an England flag scrawled with ‘f*** Islam’ across it – just 24 hours after Britain voted to leave the EU.

Thomas Johnstone also chanted anti-Muslim slogans during an English Defence League protest on Saturday.

The 29-year-old’s chants got louder as Asian drivers or pedestrians passed him while he took part in the demonstration, a court heard.

Around 30 members of the far-right group had gathered outside the Manarat Foundation mosque in Birmingham.

The court heard that on the flag was written ‘no more mosques,’ ‘English ’till I die’ and ‘f*** Islam’.”

Johnstone yesterday admitted two counts of causing religiously aggravated harassment alarm or stress under the Public Order Act at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.

He also pleaded guilty to obstructing an officer after giving police his brother’s name when arrested.

Johnstone, of Luton, was handed a £400 fine but was told he would not have to pay because of the time he had spent in custody since Saturday.

He remained in custody after being recalled to prison on licence on other matters.

Helen Shipley, prosecuting, said demonstrators were herded by police to one side of the Coventry Road in Birmingham.

Johnstone had a St George’s flag draped around his neck.

Miss Shipley said: “He appeared to film police because he wanted their opinion on a new mosque.

“He removed the flag and was holding it up towards motorists.

“On the flag was written ‘no more mosques’ and ‘English ’till I die’ and ‘f*** Islam’.”

Miss Shipley said Johnstone was also chanting offensive anti-Muslim slogans and got more vocal when Asian drivers or pedestrians passed by.

After being arrested Johnstone gave police the name of his brother but was found out when fingerprint tests revealed his true identity.

Ben Galletti, defending, said Johnstone had been recalled on licence to prison on other matters and was not due for release until June 1 next year.

District Judge Robert Zara fined Johnstone £150 for each of the religiously aggravated offences and £100 for obstructing an officer.

He said: “The maximum penalty for public order offences is only a fine whatever view I may take of your conduct.

“Because you are now a serving prisoner I will deem the time spent in custody since your arrest should serve in default of payment.”

On a Facebook profile page Johnstone appears to be connected to the Coventry branch of the EDL.

A status update from May said: “Before ny1(sic) forms an opinion of what I believe in please google what the EDL fight for.”

Daily Mirror

Three people have admitted a religiously aggravated assault at a mosque in Totterdown.

Mark Bennett, 48, and his wife Alison Bennett, 46, both of Spruce Way in Patchway, appeared alongside Angelina Swailes, 31, of West Town Avenue, Brislington at Bristol Crown Court today.

They pleaded guilty to throwing Bacon sandwiches at elderly worshipers as they entered Jamia Mosque, in January.

A trial was supposed to begin today but the three defendants changed their plea last minute.

Kevin Shaun Crehan, 34, of Stockwood Crescent, Knowle has already pleaded guilty to the charges at Bristol Magistrates Court on February 17.

The trio were released on unconditional bail, ahead of being sentenced later this week.

Bristol Post