May 27, 2007

Forced out by race-hate mob

Family fled war-torn Angola for sanctuary the UK... but they were driven out in four days by this.

A family fled war-torn Angola only to face terror at the hands of a "seething" race-hate mob in Britain.

Yesterday 11 thugs were locked up for their part in the terrifying attack - aimed at driving their black neighbours out of an estate just four days after they moved in. The racists, some armed with baseball bats and crowbars, targeted Alvaro Vintem, his wife Maura Adriano and their three children as they enjoyed a barbecue with family and friends to celebrate a cousin's 10th birthday.

Alvaro, 30, said after the mob was sentenced: "I came to England for help and then this happened. At the time I remember thinking, 'Oh my God what have I come to?'"

The thugs stockpiled weapons in the garden of a house nearby, then threw missiles including bottles, sticks, cans and bricks at the family cowering in their front garden. One little girl begged: "Please don't let them kill me."

The racists attacked their victims' cars, causing damage running into thousands of pounds. They screamed "Get home you bunch of f***ing n*****s" and "Back off you black b******s, you don't belong here."

One witness claimed the jeering mob then got hold of the barbecue and threw it at the windows of the home in an attempt to set fire to it after the women and children had taken shelter inside. The men at the birthday party kept the thugs out of the house. The court was silent as video footage taken by a guest revealed faces twisted with rage. Seven racists have still not been traced.

Judge Peter Hunt said at Leeds crown court: "What's depressingly striking is the seething aggression demonstrated by so many."

Prosecutor John Topham told the court: "The Angolan family were terrified... children and women were terrified and crying. Some of the white residents on the estate were hostile to the presence of a black family. There were discussions in a cafe in the locality with the idea of forcing the family to move."

The family's arrival on the Seacroft estate in Leeds was marked by a stone through a window. Later, their door was broken down, windows smashed and their TV stolen. Then followed the 30-minute riot which erupted after their guests - including eight children - had arrived.

Alvaro, who came to the UK in 2000 and has now moved to another part of Leeds, said the mob "got what they deserved" after the judge locked them up. The father of three said when his girls now see a group they think they're going to be attacked.

The 11 pleaded guilty to violent disorder yet denied racist intent, but the judge declared race hate was the only motivation. David Holdsworth, 34, described as showing "extreme violence", was jailed for three years and seven months. Leanne Montgomery, 19, who "lost control" battering a car, was handed three years in a young offenders institution. Andrew Boylan, 25 and Liam Bellwood, 20, were jailed for three and a half years.

Other terms were Wayne Purchase, 31 - two and a half years' jail; Darren Kaye, 19 - 21 months in a young offenders institution; Jonathan Wilson, 19 - two and a half years in a young offenders institution; Patrick Burns, 34 - two and a half years; Wayne Lorimer, 21 - two and a half years; Glynn Milburn, 33 - 12 months; and Duane Watts, 24 - two-and-a half years.

  • More than 1.5 million people died and 4 million were displaced in the 27-year civil war.
  • It has the worst infant mortality rate in the world - 125 in every 1,000 die before their first birthday.
  • More than 33 per cent of children under five suffer malnutrition.
  • Life expectancy is 45 for men, 48 for women.
  • Only 32 per cent have clean water and 42 per cent are illiterate.
Sunday Mirror

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