A man who admitted tearing a niqab off a woman in a shopping centre and yelling: “you are in our country now you stupid fucking Muslim” has been jailed.
Peter Scotter, who attacked his victim while she was with her nine-year-old son in Sunderland last July, was sentenced to 15 months at Newcastle Crown Court. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £140.
The force he used almost threw her to the ground, and the niqab came away from her face, exposing her and causing her pain to the neck.
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. After his arrest he said: “She could have been a bomber,” the court heard.
The 56-year-old admitted racially aggravated assault by beating and a separate charge of racially aggravated harassment when he appeared in court in February.
Prosecutor Laura Lax said the incident left the victim “scared to go out.”
In comments reported by the BBC, Tony Hawks, defending, said it was “no coincidence” the incident occurred within a week or so of the Brexit referendum, when the “press and politicians were banging the drum about taking our country back”.
Describing his client as an “ignorant and ill-educated man”, he added: “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?”
Scotter, who has been receiving treatment for a cancerous growth on his tongue, has 70 previous convictions, including actual bodily harm, breaching a Football Banning Order and racially aggravated damage where he threw bricks with racist stickers on them at a house with refugees inside.
The 29-year-old said: “He did a bad thing in anger… but I don’t seek any kind of revenge. I don’t want him to suffer.
“Perhaps that is something everyone who shows anger and resentment towards Muslim people could learn to do. Maybe everyone could stop the hatred and chill.”