Man who left pig's head outside Muslim place of worship in religiously motivated attack is spared jail
Liam Ferrar, 24, admitted leaving the frozen head outside a Muslim community centre in Leicester on Boxing Day last year
Monday 18 February 2013
An office worker who left a pig's head on the steps of a Muslim place of worship has been spared a jail sentence.
Liam Ferrar, 24, admitted leaving the frozen head outside a Muslim community centre in Leicester on Boxing Day last year, in a religiously motivated attack.
Ferrar, of Brook Road, Leicester, pleaded guilty last month to causing religiously aggravated harassment by leaving the frozen pig's head on the steps of the city's Thurnby Lodge Community Centre.
He was sentenced to 12 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for a year, after the court heard he had written a letter of apology to his victims and was disgusted by his actions.
Sentencing Ferrar at Leicester Magistrates' Court, District Judge John Temperley described the offence as being "to some extent planned, premeditated and targeted".
The district judge told Ferrar: "You were well aware of the significance of your actions.
"You knew that what you did would cause great distress, indeed that was your intention."
The court heard that Ferrar was under the influence of alcohol when he placed the pig's head - which had been stored in a freezer for several months - in an area where it could not be avoided by adults and children arriving for prayers.
Stressing that the offence had taken place against a background of protests at the community centre's use as a place-of-worship, District Judge Temperley added: "It is easy to imagine the shock, distress and disgust (those who discovered the pig's head) would have felt.
"The witnesses statements I have read bear testimony to the serious impact of your actions, but the harm you caused goes further.
"Others in the local community and beyond would also have been affected when news of this incident spread, prompting profound alarm, fear and insecurity.
"It should have been obvious that what you did was intimidatory and would only serve to enflame an already tense and volatile situation."
Suspending the 12-week prison term because of Ferrar's personal mitigation, including his previous good character, the district judge accepted that the defendant regularly gave his time and energy to local good causes.
District Judge Temperley told Ferrar, who was also ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid community work and pay £85 in costs: "The character references I have read do you great credit.
"I also accept that you have demonstrated genuine remorse and regret for your actions. You co-operated with the police and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity."
Louise Cox, prosecuting, told the court a group calling itself Forgotten Estates had stepped up protests at the community centre last summer.
Defence solicitor Stephen Morris said the protest group, of which Ferrar was a member, aimed to highlight the lack of facilities in the Thurnby Lodge area.
Claiming that his client had chosen to distance himself from Forgotten Estates in September last year, Mr Morris said: "The behaviour by Mr Ferrar on this occasion is out of character - he is not somebody who displays racist tendencies."
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
Amy Schumer: 'I'm 160lbs and can catch a d**k any time I want'
Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
Russian 'aggression' sees Poland rearm its military as minister warns: 'We must be ready'
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 4 Amy Schumer: 'I'm 160lbs and can catch a d**k any time I want'
- 5 Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go