March 19, 2011

York man guilty of racist abuse

A father who taunted his Turkish neighbour with a shout of “BNP” over the garden fence has been punished by a crown court judge.

Lee Andrew Knaggs, 40, admitted his comment was racist and pleaded guilty to a charge of racist abuse towards Memet Koyapinar. Knaggs’s barrister Katherine Robinson, quoting police logs, said it was the latest in a long series of problems between the two families that had seen both call out officers to complain about the other.

The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, said whatever the rights or wrongs, it appeared that Mr Koyapinar had since changed addresses, and Knaggs was needed to help care for his autistic daughter. He gave Knaggs, currently living in Beckfield Lane, Acomb, a community order of 100 hours’ unpaid work.

Prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, Andrew Haslam said the Koyapinar family were having a barbecue in their garden on April 17 when Knaggs shouted “BNP” at them from his property. There had been a series of incidents between him and Mr Koyapinar earlier in the day and when he was arrested, Knaggs claimed he had been goaded.

On March 25, Knaggs had received a written police warning about harassment towards Mr Koyapinar. Miss Robinson said the period on bail during the court case had been difficult for the Knaggs family because Knaggs had had to live at a different address from his autistic daughter, who insisted on him bathing her. It meant she had to be taken to his flat every time she wanted a bath.

The Press

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