A man who was being spoken to by police shouted abuse at people who were watching from across the road. Blackburn magistrates heard that Phillip Anthony Townley told onlookers he would burn down their mosque.
Townley, 56, of Cornelian Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated threatening behaviour. He was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months, made subject to an electronically-monitored curfew between 8pm and 8am for six weeks and ordered to pay £280 costs.
Passing sentence, District Judge James Clarke said Townley attempted to justify his behaviour by claiming to be an Englishman. “Your behaviour went against everything expected of an Englishman – tolerance, understanding and respect for others,” said District Judge Clarke. “The society we live in expects better.”
Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said police were speaking to Townley outside the Postal Order on Darwen Street and he was clearly drunk. Defending, Peter King said: “He recognises his behaviour was wholly inappropriate.”
There are a number of (mostly moribund) Facebook pages in the name of Phillip or Phil Townley from Blackburn, all of which show links to the far right, and to the British National Party in particular (though more recently he appears to have transferred his allegiance to Nick Griffin’s British Unity). Townley is close friends with Nancy Shaw, whose vile racist views received press coverage when she stood as a BNP candidate in Blackburn in 2011.