‘Appalling’ racist abuse of Prestonpans shopkeeper

An innocent shopkeeper was branded a “Muslim terrorist” by a drunken Prestonpans man in an incident described as “appalling” by a sheriff.

Ricky McQue walked into the Princes takeaway in Prestonpans and began hurling racist insults towards Husein Oguz who was just opening up. When McQue (33) was asked to leave the premises he called Mr Oguz a “Muslim b*stard” and shouted he was a “terrorist” and a “paedophile”.

The abuse was so loud and prolonged a member of the public who was passing the shop became disturbed by McQue’s behaviour they called police. Haddington Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday last week that, when officers arrived at the Hawthorn Road shop, McQue was still shouting at a distressed Mr Oguz.

Aiden Higgins, depute procurator fiscal, said Mr Oguz arrived at his shop at around 2.30pm to set up for the evening’s business. “Around 3.15pm, the accused came into the shop after climbing under the half-raised shutter. Mr Oguz told the accused he wasn’t trading until 4.30pm.

“The accused then shouted at Mr Oguz he was a Muslim b*stard and a paedophile, and that people in the shop were also b*stards. The comments were heard by a woman who was passing by. He continued to shout Muslim b*stards and Muslim terrorists at Mr Oguz. The woman passer-by came into the shop and called the police.”

The court was told McQue, 70 Preston Terrace, Prestonpans, had “a real drinking issue” following the break-up of his marriage in 2005. Defence agent Mary Moultrie said McQue “accepts his behaviour was wholly unacceptable” and that he does not “consider himself to be a racist”. Ms Moultrie added McQue has since contacted his GP for alcohol counselling.

McQue pleaded guilty to acting in a racially aggravated manner. The charge was further aggravated by religious prejudice.

Sheriff Peter Braid told McQue: “This was an appalling instance of prolonged racist abuse that is further aggravated by religious prejudice and your position is made worse in that you have an analogous previous conviction.” Sheriff Braid ordered McQue to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work and placed him on a six month Offenders Supervision Requirement.

East Lothian News, 2 September 2013