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Sunday, 31 October 2010

Carlisle supermarket worker shouted racist abuse from car (UK)

A teenage supermarket worker who shouted racist insults at a black man in Carlisle has been given a suspended prison sentence. 

The city’s crown court heard that Michael Hutchinson, 19, was among a group of young men who deliberately targeted Richard Feanychukwu Onuoha for abuse because they knew he would react.

The court heard that Hutchinson, of Nelson Street, Denton Holme, was on his way to visit his grandmother in the Morton area of the city in May when he saw a group of younger men shouting at Mr Feanychukwu Onuoha outside the Co-op in Stonegarth.

Later, while cruising around in his car, he saw the same group, still shouting abuse at both Mr Feanychukwu Onuoha and his white girlfriend.

“For some reason he decided to join in – in the excitement of the moment, probably – and shouted abuse out of the car window,” defence advocate William Mark-Bell said.

Hutchinson was traced because Mr Feanychukwu Onuoha took a note of his car registration number and gave it to the police.
Mr Mark-Bell said the incident was “totally uncharacteristic” of Hutchinson, who was known as a quiet man.
“He was going through a bit of a bad patch,” he said.

“He seems to have got himself sorted out now, but at the time he had got in with the wrong sort and was trying to impress them.”

Mr Mark-Bell said Hutchinson had since written “a very appropriate” letter of apology to Mr Feanychukwu Onuoha, saying he was thoroughly ashamed of what he had done and that he realised he had caused distress to his family.

Hutchinson pleaded guilty to a charge of racially aggravated intentional harassment, causing alarm or distress.
He was sentenced to a six-month term in a young offenders’ institution, suspended for a year, and ordered to do 60 hours unpaid community work.

He was also told to pay £800 court costs.

The judge, Recorder Andrew McLaughlin told him: “Not only was it reprehensible, it was also criminal. “The fact that you knew Mr Feanychukwu Onuoha was someone prone to react makes it more serious. The words you used were utterly deplorable.”

News and Star