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ARRESTED; BLUNDER 2 - Man accused of sending race hate mail to own gran.


A MIDLAND sales manager has hit out at police after he was mistakenly arrested for sending race hate mail - to his own GRANDMOTHER.

Chad Bentley, 21, was taken into custody after a dawn raid on his home and held in a cell for five hours. Police said they arrested him on suspicion of sending a racist letter to gran Jean Marshall after his fingerprints were found on it. He was released after he explained that the pensioner had handed it to him to have a look at - before he advised her to call the police.

Mr Bentley, 21, from Kings Norton, Birmingham, said: 'My grandmother received some race hate mail through the post about three months ago.

'She was worried and called me to look at it. I told her to phone the police and that was the last I heard of it. Then, a couple of weeks ago, police came to my house at about 5am and arrested me for allegedly sending racist mail.

'I tried to find out more and was told my fingerprints had been found on some race hate mail.

'Then I realised it must have been the letter sent to my gran, which she gave me to read.

'I was eventually released about 10am. I was late for work and the police didn't even apologise.'

Mr Bentley, who said his fingerprints were on police records because of a driving conviction, did not know why his 65 year-old gran, who lives near Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, would be targeted.

'My grandmother is white, I'm white and my girlfriend is black,' he said. 'We are not racist and have no idea why this letter was sent.'

West Midlands Police said: 'This was not a police blunder. Officers felt there was a genuine reason to arrest the man.'


NO RACIST... Chad Bentley with girlfriend Cherieese Gillespie
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 20, 2002
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