Group of Bradford men threatened Asians after Cleckheaton EDL march (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Group of Bradford men threatened Asians after Cleckheaton EDL march
A group of Bradford men were involved in violence and racially aggravated offences against Asian victims, after attending a far-right English Defence League demonstration in Cleckheaton, a court heard yesterday.
One Asian man was chased, pushed to the ground and repeatedly punched and kicked.
Another victim was verbally abused and spat at during the disorder, Leeds Crown Court was told.
A 17-year-old youth, of Woodside, who cannot be named because of his age; Robert Collington, 27, of Bedivere Road, Lower Grange; Kevin Docherty, 39, of Grisedale Close, Great Horton; David Lawler, 30, of Central Avenue, Shipley; Mark Peel, 34, of Bolton Hall Road; and Ben Phelps, 19, of Meadway, Woodside; all pleaded guilty to violent disorder. Collington also admitted causing racially aggravated fear of violence.
Stephen Woodhead, 33, of Heysham Drive, Holme Wood, admitted racially aggravated common assault.
Prosecutor Katherine Robinson told the court the convictions arose out of a peaceful demonstration by the EDL on March 17 last year in Cleckheaton.
Afterwards, a number of the defendants travelled by bus to Heckmondwike, where they followed an Asian man towards the Co-op Travel shop.
A group shouted and banged on the shop window. The group included Lawler, Peel, Collington and the youth. Staff locked the door to keep them out, but the group kicked it, cracking the glass and causing £200 damage.
They carried on by bus to Dewsbury, where an Asian male was punched in the face in an unprovoked and indiscriminate assault, Miss Robinson said.
The defendants congregated outside a pub where they made threatening comments to Asians. Collington approached a car which contained two Asian men and made a threatening and racist comment. Woodhead spat in the face of one of the men, and Docherty threw his drink at the back window.
An Asian man was approached, chased and subjected to a sustained attack by several defendants. The victim suffered bruises, cuts and grazes.
Shaida Chaudhury, for the teenager, said he got caught up with what was taking place and was not involved in the assault. Representing Phelps, Miss Chaudhury said: “This is a troubled young man with lots of issues and is crying out for some help.”
Sarah Barlow, representing Lawler, said he was extremely drunk at the time and had real difficulties which he was ill-equipped to deal with.
Alasdair Campbell, for Peel, said it was out of character and he had been too drunk to remember what he had done.
Collington’s barrister, David McGonigal, said his client was not a member of the EDL and had gone because a friend was there. Alcohol had contributed to his behaviour.
Nick Johnson, for Docherty, said he was not involved in the Co-op incident and did not punch or kick the last victim. Representing Woodhead, Mr Johnson said his client was not appearing for public disorder. Spitting at somebody was “nasty, disgusting and offensive” but it was a single and spontaneous act.
Judge Scott Wolstenholme will sentence all seven today.