Tyne & Wear

Peter Scotter jailed over Sunderland niqab attack

Peter Scotter Image copyright PA
Image caption Scotter threw the woman's veil to the ground, and swore at her

A man who pulled a niqab off a woman's face and called her a "stupid" Muslim has been jailed for 15 months.

Peter Scotter shouted "You are in our country now" when he attacked his victim, who was with her young son, at a Sunderland shopping centre last July.

The 56-year-old, of Beach Street, Roker, had admitted racially aggravated assault by beating and racially aggravated harassment.

He was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.

The judge said it was "appalling abusive behaviour grounded in religious bigotry".

At an earlier hearing, the court was told the victim, 29, was standing outside the Bridges shopping centre when Scotter grabbed her veil and almost threw her to the ground.

After his arrest, he said: "She could have been a bomber."

'Expletive-ridden'

His victim was left feeling as if she could not go out, prosecutor Laura Lax said.

Tony Hawks, defending, said Scotter had had been receiving treatment for a cancerous tumour under his tongue - meaning the case had been postponed several times.

He added it was "no coincidence" the incident had taken place shortly after last summer's Brexit vote "when press and politicians were banging the drum about taking our country back".

The court heard Scotter had 70 previous convictions, including throwing bricks with racist stickers on them at a house with refugees inside.

Sharon Elves, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said it had been a "terrifying attack" during which he had subjected his victim "to an expletive-ridden torrent of racist abuse".

Scotter was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £140.

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