England

Anna Soubry Nazi-slur man given suspended jail term

James Goddard confronting Anna Soubry
Image caption James Goddard confronted Anna Soubry outside Westminster in December and January

A pro-Brexit who twice confronted MP Anna Soubry, calling her a Nazi, has been banned from going near Parliament.

James Goddard, 30, from Altrincham, admitted using threatening or abusive language and using racist language to abuse a police officer.

Goddard was sentenced to eight weeks in jail, suspended for a year, and is banned from contacting Ms Soubry.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard he twice abused the MP near Parliament on 19 December and 7 January.

Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot, who had already said he would not be sent to jail, said Goddard's protest group had acted "like a pack pursuing its prey" in a "sustained and relentless tirade,".

She said he engaged in "bullying behaviour".

The judge said Ms Soubry had shown "great courage" but was "vulnerable" because of the circumstances.

Footage played in court showed Goddard wearing a high-visibility vest and shouting insults at Ms Soubry, who left the Conservatives to join the party now known as The Independent Group for Change in February.

In a victim impact statement read in court Ms Soubry said she was "really intimidated" and "very shaken by what happened".

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Goddard was banned from entering areas around Parliament

Goddard was banned from enter an area including Parliament Square, College Green, the Palace of Westminster, Portcullis House and Downing Street.

He was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay compensation to Ms Soubry and a Lithuanian police officer.

A five-year restraining order was placed on him banning him from contact with Ms Soubry.

His fellow defendant, Brian Phillips, 55, from Kent, had also pleaded guilty to causing alarm and distress using threatening or abusive language and was handed the same restraining order.

Dominic Thomas, defending, claimed Goddard had suffered personally since "Ms Soubry has plainly made a case of him", and it had caused "some difficulty with his daughter and in his home".

"He has taken on board, in what can only be described as the full public glare, the fact that he has crossed, so far as the criminal courts are concerned... the line," he said.

Lynette Woodrow from the Crown Prosecution Service said the pair "crossed the line between legitimate protest and causing outright alarm and distress".

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