Racist jailed after assault on Mossley shopkeeper

A SERIAL criminal, convicted of a racist attack on a Mossley shopkeeper and a host of other offences, has been jailed for a total of 50 weeks.

Craig Kelly, 35, of Dean Street, Ashton, was found guilty of an assault on Muhamad Nauman, from AS Convenience Store, Stamford Street, on Friday January 24.

When Kelly, who appeared by video link from HMP Forest Bank for sentencing on Wednesday, February 5, Tameside Magistrates Court was informed he had previous convictions for 131 offences.

Gareth Hughes, prosecuting, outlined the details for the incident in Mossley which he described as a “racially aggravated assault”.

Kelly entered AS Convenience Store during the evening of Sunday, October 20 and was picked up on the CCTV by Mr Nauman who was serving another customer.

When Kelly tried to leave the shop with a bottle of red wine without paying, he was confronted by Mr Nauman.

Mr Hughes explained: “Mr Nauman said excuse me to be met with the response ‘F****** P***, go back to your own country. Why are you here?’

“Mr Nauman managed to recover the wine but the defendant kicked at the front door and continued to be racist, saying ‘F****** P***, fat P***’ and Kelly tried to start a fight leaving Mr Nauman fearful he was going to be assaulted.

“Shop owner Mr Ali Irshad heard the commotion and came outside and also confronted Dean who said: ‘P***, P*** b******, go back home’.”

Mr Hughes added the incident outside the store was filmed by youths and was later uploaded on social media and from the footage police identified Hughes.

In a witness statement read to the court, Mr Irshad said he had always received racist comments from children.

He wrote: “This doesn’t bother me, but this shook me up. I never felt people were out and out racist 

“It made me feel do I want to be a shopkeeper, but locals have reassured me and local police have taken it seriously.”

Mr Nauman, in his witness statement, said: “I am not a violent man and live in the UK peacefully.

“I work hard for a decent life after I wanted to escape from Pakistan. I consider myself British and love the UK.

“I have known racism but never encountered hatred because of the colour of my skin.

“I thought I was going to be attacked and am scared to be in the shop alone.

“Deep down I know there are decent people in Mossley and the police have supported me.”   

Kelly was convicted of racially/religiously aggravated intentional harassment/alarm/distress – words/writing with intent to cause Muhamad Nauman harassment, alarm or distress used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour causing another person harassment, alarm or distress and the offence was racially aggravated.

Kelly was also found guilty of racially/religiously aggravated common assault/beating of Muhamad Nauman and the offence was racially aggravated.

He was also sentenced on February 5 after earlier pleading guilty to offences in Glossop in December and January.

When Kelly was arrested for a series of shop thefts, he was put in a caged area inside a police van where he became violent.

Mr Hughes told the court that when Sergeant Trevor Steed tried to restrain Kelly, the officer was bitten on the leg, but fortunately his skin was not broken. Kelly also made a threat to the officer’s family.

PC David Pheasey, he added, was spat at with Kelly claiming he had hepatitis C but fortunately it landed on his body armour.

Asif Akram, defending, described Kelly’s actions as “very regrettable behaviour”.

“He acknowledges it was disgusting and disgraceful behaviour towards staff in the shop,” he said.

Mr Akram explained Kelly’s benefits had been stopped and he was being asked for money from the people where he was staying. That’s why he committed the thefts.

“The last one (in Glossop) escalated out of control and he accepts full responsibility and is ashamed of his actions.”

Mr Akram added Kelly had been out of prison since June – his longest period out of custody – and he had been addressing alcohol and drug misuse problems.

He continued: “The progress he had made came to a grinding halt, especially during the last incident.

“These events are serious, even more so because it involved officers carrying out public duty. Fortunately, there were no injuries and hopefully that can be taken into consideration.”

The court was told Kelly had 131 previous convictions, including some for racially aggravated offences, 13 against the person, 27 for theft and 10 for public order offences.

The court heard the most recent offences had been in November 2018 when he was given an eight-week custodial sentence for assault and on the same day a 12-month conditional discharge for being drunk and disorderly.

Sandra Davenport, chair of the bench, explained the offences “crossed the custody threshold and were aggravated by his previous record”.

Kelly was sentenced to 26 weeks each for the assaults on the police officers which are to run concurrently and eight weeks, to run consecutively for threatening behaviour towards Peter Goodhead.

For the two racist offences in Mossley, Kelly was sentenced to a further 16 weeks for each, both to run concurrently.

And for the thefts, he was sentenced to four weeks for each, all to run concurrently making a total of 50 weeks in custody.

Kelly will also have to pay a total of £500 compensation to his victims, £200 to Mr Nauman, £100 each to the police officers and £100 to Mr Goodhead.

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