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Thursday, 21 October 2010

'Racist' who abused mixed-race family on Streatham bus faces jail (UK)

A racist who abused and assaulted a Streatham mum travelling on a bus with her mixed-race family faces jail.

Suzanne Long was abused, hit and spat at by Michelle Thomas on a bus ride to Streatham with her children and nieces.

On October 8, Ms Long told Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court: “She called us 'white slags', running around with black men and half-breed kids.

“The children asked me what half-breed was when we got off the bus.”

Ms Long, with her two sisters and five of her children and nieces aged two to 10, got on the 109 service to Streatham on June 5, after visiting a relative in Thornton Heath.

Her sister, Kerry Long, became involved in a heated argument with Thomas at about 9.30pm as the bus passed through Mitcham, after asking Thomas to stop swearing in front of the children although Thomas, 39, later claimed Kerry Long had racially abused her.

Other passengers restrained Thomas as she became agitated and encouraged her to leave the bus.

Three witnesses said she lashed out at Suzanne Long with a clenched fist and spat at her as she was protecting her children.

The court heard nurse and fellow passenger Wendy Jack helped comfort the now hysterical children as the shouting continued – but was also hit and spat on by Thomas.

Giving evidence at the trial she said: “I was angry – very angry. The children didn’t do anything. It just wasn’t right.”

Police were called to the bus and took statements from passengers, but when it eventually continued its journey Thomas tried to get on again at a stop in Streatham Common.

When passengers shouted for the driver not to open the doors she stood in front of the bus shouting for “about five minutes”, a witness said.

The family eventually left the bus outside Streatham Ice Rink, near their home, and Thomas – who lives in St George Wharf, Battersea – was arrested later that night.

Magistrates found Thomas guilty of racially-aggravated threatening behaviour and of assaulting Kerry Long, Suzanne Long and Wendy Jack.

Thomas, who denied all the charges, was told she could be jailed when she is sentenced on October 29.

Your Local Guardian