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Grandad's campaign of hatred; Bacon was left at mosque.


A CHURCH-GOING grandad has admitted leaving a slab of bacon outside a mosque as part of a Muslim harassment spree.

John White launched a campaign of "foul discrimination", flinging pork at the homes of Muslim families in South Shields.

The 63-year-old also targeted the Jam-E-Masjid Bangladeshi Muslim Culture and Welfare Association, one of the town's most popular mosques.

White, of Homestall Close, South Shields, yesterday pleaded guilty to five counts of religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress at Newcastle Crown Court.

The court heard how White, who has attended the same church for 30 years, fell out with a member of the Muslim community and decided to seek revenge with the attacks, which took place between January 2 and 29.

Stuart Graham, mitigating, said: "He is remorseful for what he has done.

"It is incredibly difficult for him to admit what he has done because he is a man of 30 years going to the local church and it's very difficult for him."

Mr Graham said his client had suffered psychiatric problems for many years.

The court was told White's campaign sparked a huge police investigation, with officers fearing a racist group was behind the incidents.

But CCTV footage identified White as the culprit and he was subsequently arrested.

After being shown the "overwhelming evidence", White admitted the crimes.

But he then retracted his statement and tried to blame the police for making him admit to something which he didn't do.

The church stalwart was due to stand trial before a jury, but yesterday changed his plea to guilty.

A string of racially-aggravated charges were dropped. The court was told the chairman of the mosque had forgiven White and wished him no harm.

Judge Christopher Prince said: "You've committed offences that amount to a campaign that demonstrated hostility towards Muslims. Such foul discrimination is offensive to all right-minded people regardless of their religious beliefs."

White was remanded into custody until he is sentenced.

His barrister said psychiatric reports will be prepared.

An application for bail was refused by Judge Prince, who said: "It seems to me that you are in a volatile and unpredictable state of mind, and if you are suffering from a psychiatric disorder, it would be rash of me to release you back into the community."

White will be sentenced in September.


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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 28, 2011
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