A 31-year-old man allegedly went on a racist rampage through Aylesbury’s Alfred Rose Park, attacking an elderly woman and smashing the doors and windows of a house. It is the latest in a worrying line of racist attacks against the town’s Muslim population since Drummer Lee Rigby was killed in a terrorist outrage in Woolwich last month.
Thames Valley Police said today (Wednesday) that they had arrested a man in connection with a number of offences in the Fairfax Crescent/ Alfred Rose area of Aylesbury at around 6pm on Monday. The 31-year-old was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage, racially aggravated common assault and racially aggravated intentional harassment.
The Bucks Herald understands that the man allegedly racially abused passers-by in the park, broke windows and doors of a house belonging to an Asian family and racially abused a 78-year-old Asian woman before pushing her over.
The man was released on bail until 23 July to allow further enquiries.
Aylesbury Neighbourhood Inspector Kelly Glister said: “This incident has led to some anxiety and concern within the Asian community in Aylesbury, who feel personally targeted by this series of events. This type of racially motivated abuse will not be tolerated in Aylesbury and I am pleased the police responded quickly, leading to an immediate arrest.
“As a town, we have a very diverse community that is strong and committed to working together to live in harmony, and I will do my best not to let individuals ruin this unique relationship. I would like to reassure all members of the community that we will always do everything to secure justice for victims. I would urge any witnesses to come forward, as all information, no matter how small, may become important within the investigation.”
The Bucks Herald has learnt a number of other racist incidents have taken place since the murder of Drummer Rigby. Among these are racial abuse directed towards a taxi driver and two women. A former Mayor of Aylesbury has also told of a slur directed at him.
Acting chief inspector Emma Garside said the past few days have seen a rise in the number of incidents. She said: “People in the immediate community are quite nervous. It’s not something we have to deal with a lot. It’s unprecedented to have this number of reports in such a relative small period of time.”
Niknam Hussain, mayor in 2006/07, was in Market Square’s Caffè Nero when a woman said to him: “You people been going around chopping people up in Woolwich and we can’t do anything about it.”
Mr Hussain, a former county councillor, was left ‘flabbergasted’ by the abuse. He said: “What can you say to irrational people like this? I told her if she makes an accusation like that again there will be consequences and then I had to walk away. We have always been lucky in Aylesbury that the communities work together well. People making these accusations don’t help anybody.”
In a separate incident, racist language was reportedly used towards an Asian taxi driver in Kingsbury at around 2.20am on May 28. A 28-year-old man has been arrested and released on bail until June 25.
Another incident was in the Argos car park in Cambridge Close at around 3.30pm on May 26. An Asian woman and her sister had just parked when a man parked next to her and used racist language towards her. The man is white, of average build with short hair and was wearing sunglasses.
Ms Garside said Drummer Rigby’s murder is believed to have triggered the abuse. She said: “Because people have formed views about what’s happened in Woolwich they’re saying what they’re saying here. Incidents of this nature will not be tolerated and I would like to reassure the community that incidents like this are rare.”
The vice-president of Aylesbury Mosque, Mohammed Amjad, said: “You can’t hold every Muslim responsible for the actions of two madmen. It serves no purpose and is further criminality.”