EDL members admit spraying racist words on mosque

Two men have admitted daubing racist graffiti on a mosque and two Asian-run business premises. Anthony Donald Smith, 24, and 32-year-old Steven James Vasey yesterday both pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit racially aggravated criminal damage, between November 1 and 17, last year.

It relates, specifically, to spray painting offensive messages on the Nasir mosque, in Brougham Place, Hartlepool, as well as at the Milko store, in Potto Street, and at the Albert Guest House, in Front Street, both in Shotton Colliery, County Durham, all said to have taken place on November 11.

Smith, of Neptune Way, Easington Colliery, and Vasey, of Prior’s Grange, High Pittington, near Durham, entered their pleas at a short hearing at Durham Crown Court, yesterday.

Barristers Shaun Dryden, for Vasey, and Stephen Constantine, for Smith, requested reports be prepared by the Probation Service before the men are sentenced. Judge John Evans agreed and adjourned the hearing for sentence on a day to be agreed in the week of October 3.

Bailing the two men, he warned them: “The fact I’m adjourning mustn’t be taken by either of you as any indication as to the way you are sentenced. That will up to the judge who sentences you in October.”

They will be sentenced alongside a third defendant, co-accused Charlotte Christina Davies. The 19-year-old single mother, of Irving Path, in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, is facing the same charge. She appeared in the court on Friday, August 19, when the hearing was told that she intends to plead guilty.

Davies was said to have sent text messages suggesting pork scratchings should be thrown at the mosque, or a pig’s head could be left there, with “Merry Christmas” daubed above the door, on the day before the start of the Muslim festival of Eid. Jane Waugh, for Davies, told that hearing she would be pleading guilty on the basis that whatever she suggested was not carried out by any of the others.

Her case was adjourned, and probation reports were requested for her next hearing, when she will appear with Vasey and Smith, in the week of October 3.

Northern Echo, 27 August 2011