Pig’s head and racist graffiti at mosque site

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RACIST graffiti was spray-painted by a Hucknall man on a site earmarked for a Muslim mosque, a court has heard.

Christopher Payne (25), of Beardsmore Grove, was also with a gang who paraded a severed pig’s head, daubed with an anti-Muslim message, at the same spot.

Payne appeared at Nottingham Magistrates Court this week and pleaded guilty to causing racially or religiously-aggravated alarm, harassment or distress by words or writing.

He also admitted causing racially-aggravated criminal damage.

Payne is an events organiser for the English Defence League (EDL) — a group that claims to protect against “radical Islam’s encroachment into the lives of non-Muslims”.

In court, he admitted spray-painting the slogan ‘No Mosque Here EDL Notts’ on the pavement at the site near Collington Way, off Derby Road, West Bridgford.

He denied placing the pig’s head on a four-foot high, yellow pole at the location. But he admitte he had been part of the group that travelled to the spot with the head.

The graffiti was discovered on Thursday last week (June 23) by a member of the public along with a severed pig’s head. Payne was arrested last Saturday.

The court heard he was in a pub in Clifton with fellow members of the EDL when he received a text-message from a friend who had the pig’s head.

Daniel Pietryka (prosecuting), said: “It was brought to the pub in a bin liner.”

Mr Pietryka said Payne admitted to the graffiti but had wanted no involvement in placing the pig’s head.

Robert Keeble (defending) said: “Mr Payne accepts that, on arrival, he did use a can of spray paint to write the graffiti on the pavement. He says he did nothing else after that.

“He accepts he received communication from another and that he accepted the pig’s head when it was brought to the pub.

“He accepts that he knew what was going on and did nothing to prevent it.”

District Judge Morris Cooper adjourned sentencing of Payne until Thursday July 21 so a pre-sentence report could be produced by probation officers.

But he warned the 25-year-old that all sentencing options were still open, including custody.

He told him: “You were involved in a course of conduct with others which involved the display of this pig’s head on a stake with grossly offensive comments written on it.”

Payne was granted conditional bail, despite police concerns. He is subject to a curfew between 10 pm and 5 am daily.

He has also been ordered to stay out of West Bridgford and must not go within 200 metres of a mosque.

Payne must also have no public association with the English Defence League.

THREE other men, including Wayne Havercroft, of Bestwood Village, have also been charged in connection with the racist behaviour.

Havercroft (31) appeared at Nottingham Magistrates Court alongside Nicholas Long (21), of Arnold, and Robert Parnham (19), of Clifton.

The trio admitted causing religiously aggravated alarm, harassment or distress. But all three denied a second charge of religiously-aggravated criminal damage.

Their cases were adjourned until Monday September 5 when they will appear at the court again.