Drunken racist pair face jail for attack
Feb 15, 2007
A POSSIBLE jail sentence hangs over two racist thugs who launched a sickening attack on a Sikh supermarket manager in Harpenden.
Steven Kent, aged 25, and Stuart Cameron, 19, turned up drunk last May at Sainsbury's in the town two hours before it was due to open.
As they tried to force their way in they racially abused the manager Gurminder Singh, known as Bobby, taunting him about being a Muslim. When he told them he was a Sikh they rained a flurry of blows on him leaving him with a fractured cheekbone.
Last week Kent, of Lowestoft, was found guilty of racially aggravated grievous bodily harm as well as a charge of affray for attacking another Sainsbury employee who rushed to help Mr Singh.
Cameron, of Glemsford Drive, Harpenden, had already pleaded guilty to the racist attack before the trial started and an Old Bailey jury cleared him of affray.
A third man Mark Hattam, of Ranleigh Walk, Harpenden, was cleared of racially aggravated grievous bodily harm but found guilty of affray for his part in the violence. All the verdicts were unanimous.
Judge Richard Hone remanded the trio on conditional bail and will sentence them on March 9.
The court heard that the three men were still drunk from a boozing session the night before when they turned up at Sainsbury's two hours before it was due to open on Sunday, May 28 - the Bank Holiday weekend.
They appeared at the front door of the store and tried to force their way in by pressing upon the glass doors. Mr Singh noticed them and opened the door to speak to them and was asked what time they were opening.
Cameron looked at his watch and told Mr Singh he was not displaying a sign at which point both Kent and Hattam started shouting at him as well.
The verbal attack then turned racist with Mr Singh accused of being a Paki and a Muslim even thought he told them he was of Sikh origin.
A fight broke out and witnesses saw Mr Singh being punched repeatedly in the face then kicked as he lay on the ground trying to protect himself. His colleague David Wilson tried to pull the attackers away but was punched several times in the face by Kent and Hattam suffering minor injuries as a result.
The three attackers began walking away but rushed back to attack Mr Singh again when he got to his feet and started shouting at them. Staff managed to restrain Hattam but Kent and Cameron fled. They were picked up later in a nearby street.
When interviewed Cameron described the attack as "a tussle" but later pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated grievous bodily harm. Kent claimed Mr Singh had provoked them before the violence began - but giving evidence Mr Singh laughed off the accusation and called it a fabrication.