EDL gang guilty of religious abuse at Middlesbrough railway station

 
From left, EDL members Dean Spence, Ross Williams and Paul Ross

From left, EDL members Dean Spence, Ross Williams and Paul Ross

SIX men with links to a controversial right-wing pressure group have been convicted of chanting a sickening torrent of religious abuse.

The men, who are associated with the English Defence League (EDL), shouted a highly inflammatory religious chant at Middlesbrough railway station.

They were convicted of religiously aggravated disorder yesterday after a two-day trial at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

The men – who represented themselves during the trial – shouted the abuse at the station on Saturday, December 10, 2011.

The group was in Middlesbrough to watch Boro play Brighton, but when they decided it was too cold they visited several pubs in the town instead.

They then went on to the railway station, the court heard.

PC Andrew Ward, of British Transport Police, told how he approached the “drunk”, “noisy” group three times telling them to calm down.

He said the group was singing EDL chants and when the men started singing a highly inflammatory religious chant he decided to eject them from the station.

He added that as the group left, one of the men, Christopher Caswell, 32, became aggressive and raised his fist.

The officer responded by spraying him with CS spray and called for police back-up.

As PC Ward walked from the court after giving evidence there was hissing from the public gallery.

DVD footage was played showing the men jumping up and down, waving and clapping their hands. There was no audio on the tape.

When asked to describe an Islamic person in police interview, 22-year-old Jak Beasley said: “Scum”.

All men denied two charges of religiously aggravated harassment and using threatening words or behaviour to cause harassment alarm or distress.

They said they were associated to the EDL in some way and said some EDL chants as well as the national anthem had been sung.

But they all strongly denied singing the highly inflammatory chant in question.

Paul Ross, 47, who told the court he runs the South-west Durham Division of the EDL, said the group was just having a “bit of banter”.

Throughout the court proceedings, the defendants were repeatedly told by the chairman of the bench, Elizabeth Hutchinson, to remain quiet and to stop treating the proceedings as a “big joke”.

EDL supporters gathered in and around the court yesterday along with a strong police presence.

Following the verdict, onlookers in the public gallery shouted the conviction was a “stitch up”, while the defendants shook their heads and continued to express their innocence.

Beasley, of Teal Street, Bishop Auckland, Caswell, of West Auckland Road, Darlington, and Ross, of Auckland Wind, Shildon, along with Shaun Bunting, 33, of Fenhall Green, Newton Aycliffe, Ross Williams, 23, of Ebberston Court, Spennymoor, and Dean Spence, 22, of Yew Close, Spennymoor, will be sentenced on September 14.

The EDL was formed in response to a protest in March 2009 organised by an Islamic group against troops returning from the war in Afghanistan.

The group states its aim is to demonstrate peacefully but conflicts with Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and other opponents have led to street violence, anti-social behaviour and arrests. EDL supporters describe themselves as a human rights organisation peacefully protesting against the Islamification of the UK.

In July last year, about 500 EDL supporters marched through Middlesbrough. The event, which was marked by a large police presence, passed off peacefully.

From the Middlesborough Evening Gazette  25.08.2012 . Report by Krysta Eaves

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Comments
One Response to “EDL gang guilty of religious abuse at Middlesbrough railway station”
  1. lowerarchy says:

    After working at Jaguar Land Rover (Solihull) for some years I’ve seen a great deal of horrible racism. Black mates of mine have had threats and problems for years. There are no senior reps of colour and hardly any managers are black or Asian. There’s a culture of bullying and intimidation from management which is scary for those on the receiving end. We’ve tried to publicise this but the media don’t want to know because JLR are major employers and spend millions on adverts.

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