May 11, 2007

BNP man found guilty of racially abusing police officer

A Morden man, alleged to be a member of the British National Party, has been convicted of screaming racist abuse at a police officer after being arrested for his part in a drunken punch-up. Jamie Sedgewick, 40, of Wolsey Crescent, subjected the Asian officer to a tirade of obscenities and racial abuse after he broke up a fight at the Hideaway Bar in Kingston Road, Wimbledon, in March last year.

Sedgewick, who was alleged by the arresting officer to have been carrying a BNP membership card in his wallet, but would not comment on the issue during police interview, was also found guilty of actual bodily harm at Kingston Crown Court yesterday.

Summing up, Recorder Plaschkes spoke of how Sedgewick had become embroiled in an argument over a stolen beanie hat in the early hours of March 19 last year. Sedgewick had been leaving the bar with family and friends when one of the party was accused by a drinker of having taken his hat. The drinker said that as he restrained and remonstrated with Sedgewick's friend, an unseen attacker jumped on him from behind and rained blows on him, leaving him with a severely bruised face.

Sedgewick had admitted hitting the man but said he was acting in defence of his friend who he feared was about to be stabbed in the face with a dart.

When Sedgewick was later arrested by police outside the pub and bundled into a van, he subjected one of the officers to a sustained volley of racist abuse. Officers said Sedgewick had repeatedly screamed racial insults and right wing slogans while headbutting and kicking the door. Sedgewick denied this and said racist language was "not in his nature".

The jury acquitted Sedgewick of affray over an accusation that he had shoved a police officer in the chest. His co-defendant and friend Martin Yaxley, 43, was cleared of charges of assault and affray.

Sedgewick will be sentenced on June 7.

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