A member of the English Defence League (EDL) in Notts has pleaded guilty to being involved in an anti-Muslim “hate crime”. Christopher Payne helped a group of EDL members put a pig’s head sprayed with an anti-Muslim message on a 4ft yellow pole in Collington Way, West Bridgford. Payne, 25, of Beardsmore Grove, Hucknall, also spray-painted “No mosque here EDL Notts” on the pavement.
Payne appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to two charges of racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage and causing racially or religiously aggravated alarm, harassment or distress by words or writing.
Daniel Pietryka, prosecuting, said: “Payne had been in a pub in Clifton with other EDL members when he received a text message from a friend who had the pig’s head. It was brought to the pub in a bin liner.”
The court heard there are plans to build a mosque on the site in Collington Way, off Rugby Road.
Payne was arrested on Saturday and told police under interview that he was a member of the EDL who had responsibility for arranging meetings and events in Notts.
District Judge Morris Cooper warned Payne that “all sentencing options are open at this stage” before adjourning the case for a pre-sentence probation report. He said: “You were involved in a course of conduct with others which involved the display of this pig’s head on a stake with grossly offensive comments written on it.”
Payne was granted bail despite police concerns about his involvement with the EDL. The bail conditions include a curfew between 10pm and 5am, that he stays away from West Bridgford and doesn’t go within 200 metres of a mosque. Payne also must not meet with other EDL members.
Payne is next due to appear at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on July 21.
Three other men are due to appear at Nottingham Magistrates Court today in connection with the incident. Wayne Havercroft, 41, of Bestwood Village, Nicholas Long, 21, of Arnold, and Robert Joseph Parnham, 19, of Clifton, are each charged with causing religiously aggravated alarm, harassment or distress by words/writing and religiously aggravated criminal damage.
Wayne Havercroft is also charged with causing religiously aggravated alarm, harassment or distress by words/writing in Nottingham city centre on Saturday 25 June.
Update: See “Pig’s head on pole: Three plead guilty to hate crime”,Nottingham Post, 29 June 2011