Neo-Nazi gang jailed for attack on Asians: Racist assault condemned as 'unprovoked, vicious and cowardly'

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FOUR members of a gang of neo-Nazis who launched an attack on staff from an Indian restaurant were yesterday jailed. St Albans Crown Court was told that the skinheads beat the Bengalis with baseball bats and bottles and drove at them in a van.

One Asian was beaten unconscious as the gang returned for a second assault just minutes after the first attack. When police searched their van they found a swastika flag, white supremacist literature and Nazi memorabilia as well a machete, axe, knives, catapult and a CS gas cannister.

Judge Joseph Gosschalk, passing sentence, said: 'This was a cowardly and vicious attack. It was an opportunistic racist attack.'

The judge said none of the men were being sentenced for their views. But he said the fact that it was racially motivated was an aggravating feature. 'What the courts will not tolerate is the enforcing of beliefs and views on others by force. That is the very negation of freedom in our society.'

Paul Lincoln, 24, Nicholas Marsh, 27, and Paul Parish, 25, had pleaded guilty to violent disorder in the attack on 23 November 1991. Kirk Barker, 25, of Basingstoke, Hampshire, had denied charges of violent disorder and reckless driving but was convicted by the jury.

Peter Stage, for the prosecution, said that all the men had been to a skinhead 'Blood and Honour concert' in Baldock, Hertfordshire. There were about 13 people in the back of Barker's Ford Transit van which got lost in Buntingford, Hertfordshire, where they spotted the five Asians walking home after an evening working at the Viceroy Indian restaurant, in the town.

Mr Stage said Barker pulled up alongside the men and Marsh, who has a Swastika tattooed on his neck, shouted out 'Paki bastards'. At least eight of the men including Lincoln, Marsh and Parish then jumped out and armed with bottles and bats began beating the terrified Bengalis.

Barker drove off but returned moments later, swerved the van and drove straight at the men who had to leap on to a grass verge to avoid them.

The court was told that the skinheads jumped out of the van and began the second attack leaving Abdul Choudhury, the owner of the restaurant, unconscious. Mr Stage said they were arrested about an hour later at 1.30am in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.

The court was told that Lincoln, of Newbury, Berkshire, and Barker, were both members of the ultra-right British National Party. Marsh Parish, both of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, denied being members but admitted regularly attending rallies.

Lincoln, Marsh and Parish were each sentenced to 21 months in jail; Barker was jailed for three years.