A 56-year-old man has been jailed for 15 months for ripping off a Muslim woman’s veil at a shopping mall in the UK last year. Peter Scotter attacked the woman who was waiting with her son for her husband outside a jewellery shop at a shopping centre in Sunderland on July 3 last year, the Independent reported.

Scotter, from Roker in Sunderland, admitted to racially aggravated assault by beating and racially aggravated harassment. He was handed down a 15-month jail term at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday.

A court heard that the Brexit vote had sparked the assault by Scotter. The force he used to pull off the veil caused the woman to fall on the floor. He continued to shout abuse at the woman, the Mirror reported.

After exposing the distraught woman’s face, Scotter shouted racist slurs at her saying: “You’re in our country now… you stupid Muslim.”

The incident happened just weeks after the Brexit vote last year, which coincided with a sharp increase in the number of racially or religiously aggravated crimes recorded by police in England and Wales, the report said.

After the incident, the victim had said she did not want Scotter to go to jail after learning that he was undergoing treatment for cancer.

Tony Hawks, defending Scotter, told Newcastle Crown Court certain politicians and sections of the press had been “playing the race card” in the weeks before the incident. He said there was “no doubt that what he did was an ignorant and despicable piece of behaviour”.

But he described his client as an “ignorant and ill-educated man” who “knows nothing whatsoever about Islam”.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said Scotter was escorted out of the centre by a security guard after the assault last June, but refused to listen to police and launched yet more abuse.

The court heard Scotter had 70 previous convictions, including throwing bricks with racist stickers on them at a house with refugees inside.

First Published | 5 July 2017 8:49 AM
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