Racist woman jailed for tube rant
Tuesday 29 May 2012
A drunk passenger who hurled racist abuse at fellow Tube travellers in a tirade that became an internet sensation has been jailed for 21 weeks.
Jacqueline Woodhouse, 42, launched an expletive-laden rant at passengers on the Central line, telling those seated near her: "I used to live in England and now I live in the United Nations."
A seven-minute video of the verbal assault was uploaded to YouTube and viewed more than 200,000 times.
Condemning her showdown, District Judge Michael Snow at Westminster Magistrates' Court in central London, said: "Anyone viewing it would feel a deep sense of shame that our citizens could be subject to such behaviour who may, as a consequence, believe that it secretly represents the views of other white people."
The judge told Woodhouse she would serve half her prison term behind bars and imposed an order banning her from London Underground stations and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) - or using the Tube or DLR - while drunk, for a five-year period.
The defendant, dressed in a dark jacket, sat with her head bowed, occasionally nodding as District Judge Snow issued his damning sentencing remarks.
On the evening of January 23, he said, Woodhouse drunkenly boarded the Tube at about 11pm.
"The train was packed with people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds," he added.
"The people included children.
"She became loud, foul-mouthed and aggressive. She targeted her behaviour at those who weren't white.
"She directed it at those who were close to her, on occasions directly into their faces.
"She threatened violence against more than one person and it took place over a prolonged period."
He said her "grossly offensive" language reflected her hostility to her fellow passengers.
While one traveller was left so shocked by her racist aggression that he no longer felt he could interact with white people on the Tube, another, of Pakistani descent, felt victimised because of his "cultural background" and was left wishing he could afford a car to avoid having to take the Underground, he said.
Rejecting suggestions by Woodhouse's legal team that she felt "deeply ashamed" of her behaviour, the judge added: "I find that assertion very difficult to believe.
"She initially pleaded not guilty. She changed her plea to guilty one day before her trial.
"By this time, she had victimised the witnesses twice over by causing them the inevitable worry of having to give evidence and coming into contact with her again."
Woodhouse was fined following a similar offence on the DLR in December 2008.
In the video of her latest foul-mouthed outburst, filmed by businessman Galbant Juttla, Woodhouse can be heard shouting in a thick Essex accent: "All f****** foreign f****** shitheads."
The former secretary, of Romford, Essex, turns to other passengers and asks: "Where do you come from? Where do you come from? Where do you come from?
"All over the world, f****** jokers. F****** country's a f****** joke.
"I would like to know if any of you are illegal? I am sure like 30 per cent of you are. F****** jokers taking the f****** piss."
Prosecutor Claire Campbell said Woodhouse, who has since lost her job and is now claiming benefits, began her stream of abuse after a retirement party when she was feeling a little "worse for wear". She had drunk an unknown quantity of champagne.
Woodhouse sat with her head bowed as CCTV footage of the prolonged rant between St Paul's and Mile End stations was played to the court.
In it she could be seen turning to the Pakistani man sitting next to her, who is singing his national anthem.
"You can f****** sing my f****** dear friend. I hope they f****** catch up with you and shove you off. I will punch you in the face, you are a f****** joke.
"Pakistani f****** losers.
"Ninety per cent of you are f****** illegal. I wouldn't mind if you loved our country."
She then turns on Mr Juttla, 47, who assures her he would rather be listening to his music than to her ramblings.
"Oh look, he's filming, hello. Hello government," she says, leaning into the camera.
"Why don't you tell me where you're from?"
Mr Juttla, from Ilford, Essex, replies: "I am British."
She gets her phone out of her black handbag and looks as if she is filming him too.
"Watch what you are saying," Mr Juttla warns her.
She replies: "I used to live in England and now I live in the United Nations."
Mr Juttla decided to film Woodhouse - who previously worked for the Department for Transport - when she started berating a black woman named Judy Russell, the court was told.
She stumbled over Ms Russell as she boarded the carriage and proceeded to hurl insults, shouting: "You Africans take our council flats."
Mr Juttla, a single father of two, was travelling back from the funeral of a close family friend that day.
He watched Woodhouse sit down between two Asian men before she lambasted those around her.
The video shows Mr Juttla telling Woodhouse to keep her mouth shut and that she has had too much to drink.
She becomes extremely agitated and starts screaming.
"It's not your country anyway so what's your problem?" she says.
"It's been overtaken by people like you."
In further remarks, she told passengers: "I'll have you arrested because you don't live here" and "I hope you are not claiming benefits."
She handed herself in to police after the footage began to circulate and appeared on The Sun website.
Woodhouse went on to tell officers she could not remember the rant but recognised herself in the video.
In court, she pleaded guilty to one count of causing racially aggravated "harassment, alarm or distress" by using "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour".
Rebecca Lee, defending, said Woodhouse was promoted to become PA for a partner at the accountancy firm where she worked the day before she launched her stream of abuse.
"She is dismayed and, I should say, not only for those who were present but also because she has friends and family members who are black and Asian and she knows they would have been shocked hearing those words coming from her," the lawyer said.
"She maintains she would never have dreamt of saying those words had she not been significantly affected by alcohol, having gone to a leaving party after work on that particular evening."
Ms Lee suggested a fear of terrorist activity and her views on immigration could have fuelled Woodhouse's actions.
But she recognised this was "no justification" for her behaviour.
"She is ashamed of what happened and wishes she could turn the clock back but of course she can't," Ms Lee added.
"She is on Jobseeker's Allowance, having lost her employment."
Woodhouse, who was said to be in a "loving" relationship with her partner of 12 years, was supported in court by one of her sisters and a niece.
The publicity and attention to her case was said to have taken a "considerable toll" on her mental health and she was prescribed medication for depression.
She appeared to show no emotion as she was led from the dock.
Outside court, Mr Juttla recalled his horror on the evening of January 23.
"I was pretty shocked, and I don't want to go through anything like this again," he said.
"I was born in this country, and I don't accept any of this behaviour.
"For a third party to say 'You are on benefits, you are unemployed, you are not British'... I don't accept it.
"I think the judge probably made the right decision - she got the order for five years, and she's got 21 weeks.
"Hopefully she'll learn from that."
In December 2008, Woodhouse verbally abused a male passenger while on a train to Stratford. She asked whether he had paid taxes, adding: "I have had enough of it. Why don't they go back to where they come from?"
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