Five jailed after EDL ‘flash demonstrations’ in Brierfield and Simonstone

Bernard Holmes
Bernard Holmes
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FIVE people have been jailed at Preston Crown Court for their part in disorder in Brierfield last summer.

They had admitted a variety of offences on the second day of a trial earlier this year. Two others failed to appear at court for the trial and warrants have been issued for their arrest.

David Garratt

David Garratt

Lancashire Constabulary launched an investigation last July after about 25 suspected members of the English Defence League gathered in Colne Road, Brierfield, for a so-called “flash demonstration”.

Before they arrived in Brierfield, the defendants and others moved around Lancashire and were tracked by police in a series of so-called “flash demonstrations” which started in Blackburn and moved to Accrington, Clitheroe, Simonstone and finally Brierfield where disorder broke out.

Nobody was seriously hurt in the disturbance.

Supt Steve Pemberton said: “I am pleased with these convictions and the sentences imposed and hope it sends a message to others that disorder on Lancashire’s streets will not be tolerated. This was a spontaneous incident on a busy Saturday afternoon which could have been much more serious than it fortunately was had it not been for the speedy police response and that of local community leaders who were able to quell any subsequent rise in tensions.

David Wilson

David Wilson

“The Constabulary respects the right to peaceful protest but where people resort to disorder, as in this case, we will deal firmly with them.

“We have been working closely with community leaders since this incident to keep them informed about the progress of the investigation, which is on-going. We will continue to work to ensure members of the public feel safe and any incidents which result in criminality will be thoroughly investigated and people brought to justice.”

The defendants, and sentences handed down, were:

Bernard Holmes (26), of Dickinson Close, Blackburn. Pleaded guilty to racially aggravated public order. Sentenced to 18 months in prison and given a five-year CRASBO.

Leonard Hawley

Leonard Hawley

Graham Smith (48), of Draperfield, Chorley. Pleaded guilty to public order. Sentenced to 100 hours community service and given a 16-week custodial sentence, suspended for two years.

David Garratt (46), of Beckett Street, Darwen. Pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon. Sentenced to 47 weeks in prison.

Leonard Hawley (47), of Worcester Road, Blackburn. Pleaded guilty to racially aggravated public order. Sentenced to 37 weeks in prison.

David Wilson (47), of Devon Road, Blackburn. Pleaded guilty to racially aggravated public order. Sentenced to 37 weeks in prison.

Jason Smith

Jason Smith

Jason Smith (43), of Oak Avenue, Todmorden. Pleaded guilty to racially aggravated public order. Sentenced to 37 weeks in prison.

Leanne Thornton (26), also of Oak Avenue, Todmorden. Pleaded guilty to public order. Sentenced to 150 hours community service and given a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for two years.

John English (24), of Shorrock Lane, Blackburn. Pleaded guilty to public order. Sentenced to 100 hours community service and given a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Jordan Lonsdale (20), of Ribble Lane, Chatburn. Pleaded guilty to public order. Sentenced to a 12-month supervision order and a 13-week curfew and given a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Paul Jackson (41), of Springbank Terrace, Blackburn. Pleaded guilty to public order. Given 150 hours community service and a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Martin Corner (31), of Corporation Street, Chorley. Pleaded guilty to public order. Sentenced to a 12- month supervision order and a 13-week curfew and given a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for two years.

In the lead-up to the trouble in Brierfield, there was a demonstration by the gang outside the Simonstone home of local MEP and former Pendle councillor Sajjid Karim.

After Tuesday’s hearing, he said: “I would like to thank Lancashire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for what I know has been a difficult and sensitive crime to investigate and bring to justice.

“These defendants tried everything to avoid facing the law but were brought to justice kicking and screaming, they gave no thought to the people they terrorised and intimidated last July, while behaving like ‘wild animals.’ They regarded an eight-year-old child within the safety of her own home as fair game.

“Now this case is over I hope we will see an end to the unacceptable and violent behaviour orchestrated by the English Defence League across Lancashire.”