Kelly hit by egg - again

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The Independent Online

The Education Secretary Ruth Kelly was hit by an egg today outside the court where a Fathers 4 Justice protester was sentenced for a previous attack on her.

Ms Kelly was due to give evidence against Simon Wilmot-Coverdale, who was part of a group which tried to handcuff her at an election meeting last April.

She was hit by the egg as she left Salford Magistrates' Court by a protester who said he was from Real Fathers 4 Justice. Her attacker identified himself to journalists as Mike Downs before he was arrested by police.

Mr Wilmot-Coverdale was given a two-year suspended sentence by the court after he admitted threatening behaviour towards Ms Kelly.

Witnesses said Ms Kelly looked "shocked" when the egg broke on the back of her head.

Sue Ganner, 48, a housewife from Salford, said: "The egg went everywhere, it was all over her. It went all over the back of her head.

"She just ran off and then the police arrested him. She looked completely shocked."

Photographers waiting for Ms Kelly said the man had been shouting: " Justice for fathers, not for paedophiles."

Following today's egg-throwing incident, Ms Kelly said: "This is just one of those things that comes with being a politician."

Ms Kelly was not required to appear as a witness because Wilmot-Coverdale entered a guilty plea.

As he was being sentenced, Ms Kelly walked out of the court with aides towards her waiting car.

Her attacker ran up behind her and smashed the egg on to the back of her head.

She was knocked forward by the force of the attack and appeared distressed before quickly regaining her composure. She was later due to return to Westminster.

Her attacker was quickly arrested by police and taken away. He shouted: "Give fathers justice, not perverts."

He then sang "All we are saying is give dads a chance" to the tune of Give Peace A Chance.

A Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said Ms Kelly was not hurt in the attack and a 44-year-old man had been arrested.

She said: "At approximately 10.40am, police at Salford Magistrates' Court responded to reports that a man had thrown an egg at a woman outside of the court.

"Officers, who were escorting the woman at the time, arrested a 44-year-old man on suspicion of section 4 public order offences. He was subsequently also arrested on suspicion of witness intimidation.

"The man is currently being questioned by officers. The woman was not injured during the incident."