Britain First supporter who gave Nazi salute and drove van at curry house owner jailed for 33 weeks

Marek Zakrocki pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, drink driving and assault on first day of his trial

Caroline Mortimer
Saturday 13 January 2018 00:54
Marek Zakrocki was sentenced to 33 weeks in imprisonment
Marek Zakrocki was sentenced to 33 weeks in imprisonment

A Britain First supporter told police he was going to “kill a Muslim” before making a Nazi salute and ploughing his car into an Indian restaurant, a court has heard.

Marek Zakrocki from Harrow in north west London pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and assault by beating on the first day of his trial at the Old Bailey. He also admitted to drink driving during the sentencing hearing.

The court heard how Zakrocki had consumed around two bottles of wine before getting into an argument with his wife and grabbing her arm forcefully on the evening of 23 June last year.

He then told her and their daughter that he intended to attack a religious building with the goal of hurting Muslims.

Concerned, his daughter called the police. Officers then attended the family home where they treated the Polish national as a missing person.

They called him from his wife’s mobile phone, where he told them: “I'm going to kill a Muslim. I'm doing this for Britain. This is the way I am going to help the country. You people can't do anything. I am going to do it my way because that is what I think is right.”

The 48-year-old then went to the local shopping centre at around 8.25pm where police were called after witnesses spotted him driving around the pedestrian zone shouting about “white power”.

He then went into the centre and pushed an unidentified Asian man before being confronted by a security guard.

Officers attended the scene but Zakrocki had already driven off.

Around 15 minutes later Zakrocki drove to the Spicy Night restaurant and parked outside. When a staff member asked him to move he became angry and got into an argument with the restaurant’s owner, Kamal Ahmed.

The court heard he used the van as a weapon against Mr Ahmed and twice mounted the pavement.

He was driving at 5mph and was effectively trying to pin Mr Ahmed against the restaurant window, which smashed.

He then attempted to speed off but the van was stopped by armed police nearby and Zakrocki was found to be in possession of a kitchen knife and a baton-torch along with a Nazi coin in his pocket, a stash of Britain First flyers and newspapers at his home in Harrow.

In a police interview, he appeared to be "fixated" by Muslims and said he had made donations to Britain First.

During the interview he admitted the knife and the baton-torch were his but said he had no recollection after finishing the two bottles of wine.

He told officers he was not racist and had no intention of hurting anyone.

He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and driving under the influence but the judge accepted the guilty pleas to the lesser charges.

In mitigation, Richard Furlong said his client wanted to stress he was "not racist and not a Nazi".

He added: "He's plainly somebody who has a lengthy history of alcohol abuse and it's something he is very much aware of."

Zakrocki, who moved to Britain 14 years ago, had a previous conviction for assaulting a police officer while drunk in 2011.

Zakrocki has been sentenced to 33 weeks in prison. He will serve a 32 week sentence for dangerous driving and a six week imprisonment for drink driving which will run concurrently.

He has also been sentenced to a further seven days in prison to be served consequently for the assault against his wife.

DC Georgina Acuna said: “Zakrocki deliberately armed himself with a knife and told both his family and officers that he intended to harm someone for their religious beliefs.

“This was a terrifying ordeal for the witnesses and victims. Zakrocki was almost three times over the drink-driving limit and it was through pure good-fortune that no one was injured during his rampage.

“I hope today’s sentencing gives Zakrocki’s victims some measure of comfort and closure.”

Additional reporting by PA