London

Man jailed for attacking MP George Galloway

George Galloway Image copyright Respect/Twitter
Image caption This picture, released by Respect via Twitter, was taken before George Galloway went to hospital

A man who attacked Respect MP George Galloway while calling him an "anti-Semitic little man" has been jailed.

The pro-Palestine MP for Bradford West was left with cuts and bruises following the attack by drug addict Neil Masterson in Notting Hill, west London.

The 39-year-old from Kensington was jailed for 16 months for the attack.

He told Isleworth Crown Court he felt "morally justified" in attacking the MP because he was a "Nazi".

Masterson, who used to work for the Department of Work and Pensions and as a manager at the BBC, had previously admitted assaulting Mr Galloway and a second charge of common assault against a man who had been posing for a picture with the MP as the attack happened on 29 August.

'Kung-fu style' kick

The defendant, who was wearing a pink T-shirt with an Israeli Defence Force logo when he was arrested, told police officers Mr Galloway had a "shameful" attitude towards Jews, the court heard.

The MP believed he would have been killed if Masterson, who had "recently undergone a conversion towards Judaism", had been armed with a knife during their chance meeting, the judge was told.

Judge Aidan Marron QC said: "While you are no longer facing a charge of religiously aggravated assault, it would be unreal to ignore that the motivation for this... was your profound hostility to Mr Galloway's views."

He said Masterson's "loathing" of Mr Galloway was manifested by what he did at the start of the assault and said afterwards in interviews.

The attack happened when the MP was posing for a photo with a Moroccan doctor near his car in Golborne Road.

Prosecutor Michelle Nelson said Masterson approached them "in a rage" and mentioned the Holocaust.

The attack on the MP included 10 punches and a "Kung-fu style" kick that did not connect but caused Mr Galloway to fall into the road, where Masterson continued hitting him.

She said Masterson admitted to police he had said "anti-Semitic little man" before swearing at the MP and calling him "a morally and intellectually bankrupt person".

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