Bedfordshire man fined almost £2k following Islamophobic incident

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A Bedfordshire man who threatened a security guard in an Islamophobic incident has been ordered by the courts to pay a £1,665 fine and £85 in compensation to the victim.

Anthony O’Farrell, 45, of Clophill Road, Silsoe, pleaded guilty to using racially and religiously aggravated words intended to cause harassment, alarm or distress and possession of a Class B drug, at Luton Magistrates’ Court, on Thursday (January 5).

The court heard the defendant, who had been drinking heavily, entered a restaurant in George Street, on December 18, where the victim worked as a security guard and proceeded to use threating and abusive words related to the victim being Muslim.

When the defendant was arrested later that morning he was found to be in possession of a small amount of cannabis.

Dedicated Hate Crime Sergeant, James Hart said: “This was an extremely distressing incident for the 21-year-old victim, which has made him fearful of further attacks.

“We are really pleased with the sentencing which sends out a strong message to others that Bedfordshire Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts adopt a zero tolerance approach to this type of behaviour.

“Hate crimes are based on ignorance, prejudice, discrimination and have no place in our society, as everyone has the right to live free from fear or harassment.

“We hope this case will encourage others who have experienced Islamophobia or other hate crimes to come forward and report them.

“These types of incidents have a long-lasting impact, so it’s important people feel confident to speak to the authorities about such incidents so a positive way forward can be established.

“As for perpetrators our message is clear - we will seek out those who think it is acceptable to target people for who they are and you will be prosecuted, as we strive to create unity in our county.”