Thursday 23 November 2017

Man denies being racist after painting 'Pakis out' on takeaway and threatening to kill owner with a knife

Mark Hobbs pictured outside Limerick Court
Picture: Brian Gavin Press 22
Mark Hobbs pictured outside Limerick Court Picture: Brian Gavin Press 22

David Raleigh

A man who painted offensive slogans across the front of a Pakistani run take-away after watching beheadings on television by so-called Muslim extremists, has escaped a jail sentence.

Mark Hobbs, an English man living in Kilmallock Co Limerick, had previously threatened to kill Ali Aslan, the owner of Megabites chip shop in Kilmallock, with a kitchen knife.

Hobbs said he had been influenced by watching TV reports of the murder of Afghan war veteran soldier Lee Rigby.

Mr Rigby was hacked to death by two British Muslim coverts on a street in Woolwich, southeast London.

Hobbs admitted painting the Megabites take-away with the slogans, "Pakis out now"; "Perverts"; "S**t", and, "C***s", in white paint.

After his arrest, Hobbs, (50), told Gardai he believed Muslims wanted to "take over and kill" everyone.

Hobbs pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to causing criminal damage at Megabites chip shop, in Kilmallock on September 14th, 2014.

He was previously sentenced to 120 hours community service in lieu of a three-month jail sentence for the threat to kill offence in 2013.

Hobbs was clearly seen on CCTV cameras at Megabites daubing the premises with the offensive slogans.

At one point the footage showed him standing back and admiring his work.

After his arrest Hobbs told Gardai: "I know they're anti-English people...(it's) because they are Muslims".

Hobbs denied he was a racist.

He told gardai: "I have a problem with (Muslims) abusing 10 or 11 year olds, and chopping innocent people's heads off".

Michael Collins SC, prosecuting, told the court that Hobbs "expressed an anti-Pakistani sentiment throughout" his exchanges with Gardai.

"All they want to do is take over everywhere. All they want to do is kill us," Hobbs told gardai.

In court Hobbs apologised to Mr Aslan, the owner of Megabites, who was an entirely innocent party.

Hobbs told the court he was going through "a breakdown" at the time following the death of his father.

"I was watching television programmes about people getting their heads chopped off... stupid things," he added.

"I was staying awake for two-to-three days drinking."

The court heard Hobbs has been making efforts to deal with his alcoholism, for which he was given credit.

He was also given credit for his apology and for pleading guilty.

A charge of producing messages deemed to be "an incitement to hatred" were dropped yesterday (28/1) at the last minute by the State.

Judge Tom O'Donnell said Hobbs's actions were "outrageous in the extreme" and "extremely disturbing".

"It has no place in a civilised society," he said.

"It was a despicable act."

However, the judge said Hobbs had "expressed remorse".

"The person in court today is in a much better place, and he must be given credit for dealing with his addictions," the judge added.

"Hopefully he'll become a more tolerable person."

Judge O'Donnell imposed a two-year suspended sentence.

He warned Hobbs: "Your conduct was outrageous, uncalled for, and, unnecessary. I'm giving you a chance; It's up to you to take it."

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