A former British National Party organiser who once subjected a woman to a sickening racist attack is on suicide watch in jail.
Peter King appeared at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court in custody after being brought from the hospital wing of Holme House Prison, where he is serving an 18-week prison sentence.
He was due to stand trial for punching a man on February 24, but pleaded guilty before the hearing started.
The 39-year-old was given a 22-month conditional discharge after the court heard he has lost four stone in weight in just two months behind bars and has become a “broken man”.
John Relton, mitigating, told magistrates: “The man you see before you today is very different to 12 months ago.
“He has spent the last couple of months on the hospital wing in prison as he has been unable to keep himself safe.
“There are issues with his state of mind and self-harm.”
He said that King, of Bluebell Way, Hartlepool, is worried about his family and losing his house as he needs to work to pay his mortgage.
Mr Relton added: “He is in many ways a broken man.
“He’s lost 4st in weight and is being watched all the time on the hospital wing because of the concerns people have for him.”
The Hartlepool Mail reported how King had originally narrowly escaped jail for saying to a stunned Sajida Islam “go back to your own country” when he saw her in the aisles of Hartlepool’s Tesco Extra store, in Burn Road.
“He then launched into a tirade of racist abuse on October 14 last year.
He then threatened his neighbour, 20-year-old student Nicholas Thompson, with an ornamental mace on Christmas Eve.
King admitted racially-aggravated harassment and possessing an offensive weapon at Teesside Crown Court and Judge Peter Bowers sentenced him to 10 months prison suspended for 18 months with supervision.
But despite being told to keep out of trouble, King breached the sentence when he was arrested in London on March 17 and was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
He was given 18 weeks in prison at Southwark Crown Court on June 15 for the offence.
Helen Kesterton, prosecuting at yesterday’s hearing, said: “At 5pm, the victim was walking alone along Oxford Road.
“He became aware of a man and a boy on pedal cycles.
“As he passed them he was punched in the mouth.
“He tasted blood and felt pain instantly and had a cut on the inside of his lip.
“The defendant went past him laughing loudly.”
Mr Relton said King and the man have a long-standing feud with one another, and the victim had been cautioned for an attack on King before the incident.
He added: “He has also threatened my client’s partner.
“What has happened here is that he has been with his son, and this gentleman is intimidating so he acted first.”