A man launched a drunken attack on a mosque after watching a news report about the desecration of Commonwealth graves in Libya.
Barry Stanbury, 42, was caught on CCTV cameras at shortly before 2.30am on March 5, wandering around the Exeter Mosque before a window was smashed, Exeter magistrates heard.
The court was told Stanbury was wearing “a distinctive hoodie” with a logo of a large cross on it, and a police officer recognised the defendant.
Clifford Howard, prosecuting, said: “The criminal damage occurred at the Exeter Mosque at 2.23am. We have the precise time because it was caught on CCTV.”
When interviewed Stanbury said he was “so drunk he did not remember doing it”.
Mr Howard said he told police his motive for carrying out the religiously aggravated criminal damage was seeing on the news that Commonwealth graves had been desecrated in Libya.
Stanbury, of Laxton Avenue, Exeter, denied racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage at the mosque but was convicted after a trial. Magistrates sentenced him to 80 hours unpaid work, £100 compensation and pay £150 costs.
The claim that Stanbury’s attack was suddenly triggered by a news report is clearly nonsense.
A glance at his Facebook page confirms that he is a member of the English Defence League (its Kingston-upon-Thames division, as he now lives in Reading) and his list of “likes” includes virtually every far-right organisation in existence, from the British National Party to the National Front, along with pages such as “Izlam is a mental disease”, “Ban Islam” and “Islam Free Planet”.
Following the EDL’s Luton demonstration in May this year, Stanbury commented that he was “fed up with peaceful protest“. As support for the EDL’s street protests continues to shrink, it can be anticipated that more disgruntled members like Stanbury will turn to direct acts of violence against the Muslim community.