Racially abusive man avoids jail

A MAN who was racially abusive to a woman while she was waiting to board a train has avoided an immediate prison sentence. Mark Hoskins approached Sonja Ayres on the platform at Chelmsford station and asked her if she was a member of Al Qaeda, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

A MAN who was racially abusive to a woman while she was waiting to board a train has avoided an immediate prison sentence.

Mark Hoskins approached Sonja Ayres on the platform at Chelmsford station and asked her if she was a member of Al Qaeda, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Godfried Duah said Hoskins then asked her: “Have you ever put a bomb in a bag? Do you ever do things like that?”

Hoskins also asked her if she came from Pakistan and when she said “no”, he remarked: “Why do these Indians and Pakistanis want to come over here? This is the British Empire.”


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Ms Ayres then told Hoskins that she was born in this country and that she was a carer. He replied “right then, have a nice day” and walked off.

Mr Duah said that during the incident, in August, Hoskins put his face close to Ms Ayres' face and she had noticed the smell of drink,

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She had also feared Hoskins was going to hit her and later described the incident as leaving her feeling “outranged, upset and shaken”, said Mr Duah.

Hoskins had boarded a train to Ipswich, the court heard, and when he disembarked he approached a female member of staff, Reece Jackson, who was cleaning the platform. He had demanded to know when the Witham train was and then grabbed the back of her back, dragging her two yards along the platform.

Hoskins, 38, of Page Close, Witham, admitted racially aggravated behaviour and common assault. He was given an eight-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, and made the subject of a supervision order.

He was also ordered to pay £250 to each of the two women and £100 prosecution costs.

Craig Marchant, for Hoskins, said his client had been drinking on the day in question and could not remember details of what happened. “It was the drink talking and not a racist talking,” said Mr Marchant.

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