EDL mob was like ‘a pack of animals’
“Groups of largely middle aged men were running round like a pack of animals and aggressive behaviour abounded.”
That was the description of racist scenes which erupted in Brierfield following a string of flash demonstrations by the English Defence League (EDL).
Judge Norman Wright sentenced 11 supporters of the English Defence League – including two men from Chorley – for their parts in scenes of public disorder on July 2 last year.
The court heard relations between the EDL and police had broken down and on July 2 last year a string of flash demonstrations took place in towns across Lancashire.
In Clitheroe, Accrington and Simonstone, protests were largely peaceful but when the group moved to Brierfield – a town in which 40% of the population is of Asian heritage – trouble erupted.
CCTV taken from the town shows the group chanting racist abuse and waving placards bearing racist slogans.
A Muslim man was attacked; another Asian man was run over by a car and a road was blocked.
Judge Wright said: “It must have been a truly terrifying experience and one which affected both white and Asian people.”
“What emerged was nothing more than disgraceful public order, underpinned by overt racist behaviour.”
Graham Smith, 48, of Draperfield, Chorley and Martin Corner, 31, of Corporation Street, Chorley, were handed 16 week jail terms suspended for two years after admitting public order offences.
Bernard Holmes – organiser of the demonstrations – was jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence.
Judge Wright said: “You selected Brierfield when you knew or must have known what was to take place would be highly provocative.”
He also imposed an Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) banning Holmes from using threatening, racist or abusive language or hand gestures, congregating in groups in a manner likely to cause a person to fear for their safety, and from distributing information about marches or demonstrations without prior permission from a local superintendent.
Leonard Hawley and David Wilson, of Blackburn, and Jason Smith of Burnley, were each jailed for 37 weeks after pleading guilty to racially aggravated public order offences.
David Garratt, of Darwen, who admitted possession of an offensive weapon was jailed for 47 weeks.
Leanne Thornton, of Todmorden, John English, of Blackburn, Jordan Lonsdale, 20, of Ribble Lane, Clitheroe, and Paul Jackson, of Blackburn, were each handed 16 week jail terms suspended for two years.
Thornton and Jackson were ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, English and Smith 100 hours each and Corner and Lonsdale were put on 12 months supervision and a 13 week curfew.
Paul Blundell, 45, of Lee Street, Longridge will be sentenced at a later date.
From the Lancashire Evening Post . 26.06.2012