Essex

Braintree Islamic centre attack man Geoffrey Ryan jailed

Geoffrey Ryan
Image caption Geoffrey Ryan was arrested outside the Al Farah Braintree Islamic Centre

A man armed with a knife who threw a smoke device into an Islamic centre in Essex has been jailed for nine months.

Geoffrey Ryan, 43, turned up at Al Falah prayer centre in Braintree on 22 May, about five hours after soldier Lee Rigby's death in Woolwich.

Ryan, of Brick Kiln Way, Braintree, admitted affray and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon at Chelmsford Crown Court.

No one was hurt in the attack in Silks Way.

Speaking after the sentencing, Det Con Andy Young, of Essex Police, said: "The incident caused unnecessary fear, not only for the people who witnessed it, but also local residents at a time when emotions were already running high due to the death of Drummer Lee Rigby in London.

"Ryan's imprisonment should serve as a warning to others who intend to cause fear and unrest in the community for their own agendas, whether personal or not.

"I would like to thank the members of the Al Falah prayer centre for their support during the investigation and for their continued efforts in which they have hosted local events intended to increase understanding and tolerance within a multi-cultural community."

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