Four sentenced for Bristol mosque hate crime incident

law courtA woman from Brislington is among four people who have been convicted of a racially aggravated public order offence following an incident at a Bristol mosque.

Angelina Margaret Swales, 31, of West Town Avenue, along with Kevin Shaun Crehan, 34, of Springleaze, Knowle,  and Alison Bennett, 46, and Mark Bennett, 48, both of Spruce Way, Patchway, were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court last Wednesday.

Swales was given a four-month sentence suspended for two years. Crehan was jailed for 12 months, Mark Bennett for nine months and Alison Bennett was given a six-month sentence suspended for two years.

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

Insp Nigel Colston

Insp Nigel Colston

During the incident on 17th January.they shouted racial abuse at a member of the Jamia Mosque on Green Street in Totterdown while rashers of bacon were placed on the door handles and a St George’s flag was tied to the fence.

The quartet were identified by members of the public after police issued a CCTV image of them committing the offence.

At the court hearing yesterday, the judge called the incident an “attack on England” and “the principles of freedom of religion”.

Insp Nigel Colston, Bristol neighbourhood manager, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the response of the local community following this incident.

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

“It was fantastic to see so many messages of support from groups and individuals.  The open meeting at the mosque was packed to the rafters with people who wanted to let mosque worshippers know that they are welcomed and valued. 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. We will always support anyone who is victimised and work closely with all communities to stamp out crimes motivated by prejudice and hate. If you or someone you know is a victim please don’t hesitate, call us.”