EDL thug facing prison after firework attack in Newcastle

EDL thug Anthony Crawford was today facing prison after hurling a firework at peaceful protesters.

Crawford lit and then lobbed it at anti-jubilee protesters as they gathered for a rally. It landed in the hood worn by Barnaby Drew, from Byker, Newcastle, who was left with burns after it exploded on his shoulder and set fire to his hair.

Crawford, of Elmway, Chester-le-Street, County Durham, has been warned he could face custody after launching the terrifying attack.

The court heard how Crawford joined a group of EDL protesters at the Rose & Crown pub, on Newcastle’s Newgate Street, for a pre-arranged meeting on June 4. Later he sparked mayhem when he threw two bottles and the firecracker as trouble flared during scuffles in front of shoppers at Newcastle’s Grey’s Monument where the EDL and anti-jubilee protesters clashed.

District Judge Earle said: “Even without any aggravating factors this is a custody case with all options open. It’s a deeply disturbing incident in a public area where it’s difficult to believe anything other than a custody sentence would be appropriate.”

Crawford, who admitted one charge of assault by beating and one count of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause fear or provoke unlawful violence, was released on conditional bail and will appear later for sentence.

Evening Chronicle, 2 July 2012