Published: 02/06/2012 08:00 - Updated: 05/06/2012 10:15

Alness racial abuse man jailed after 'smear' incident

Tain Sheriff CourtA DRUNK man who racially  abused a shop owner in Alness High Street before smearing blood on a door handle was jailed for three months.

Andrew Sanders of Novar Road, Alness had denied threatening staff and refusing to leave J&M Patterson’s on May 5 when requested to do so by and verbally abusing owner Ikram Haq in a racial manner.

During the trail at Tain Sheriff Court, Sheriff David Sutherland was told by shop assistant Jane Greeney she sent a text to Mr Haq when 36-year-old Sanders came into the shop about 4.30pm under the influence of drink and with blood on his hands.

Miss Greeney said Sanders, who has over 45 previous convictions including many for shoplifting, said she was working alone when he came into the shop.

She said she had spoken to him and he said he was looking for a present for his girlfriend but she was concerned because he was drunk.

When Mr Haq came in she said he told Sanders the shop was closing then some shouting started and she heard Sanders call Mr Haq a ‘black bastard’.

“He went towards the door and two customers were coming in,” said Miss Greeney.

The witness said he smeared the door with blood before leaving and told the customers there was someone in there with a disease and HIV.

Asked by depute fiscal Roderick Urquhart how she felt, Miss Greeney replied: “Frightened.”

Cross-examined by defence solicitor Iain Innes, she said Sanders told Mr Haq that he came from Preston and added: “I know your type. I went to school with your type.”

Mr Haq (55) said himself and Miss Greeney were suspicious because Sanders was moving from one end of the shop to the other. He said he offered to help but when Sanders racially abused him he told him to leave.

The witness added: “He had blood on his hands, two people were coming in. He said ‘I’m going to put my germs on that door’.”

When Sanders gave evidence he admitted having over 45 previous convictions, many for shoplifting and failing to turn up at court.

He said he was looking for a vase or flowers for the grave of a friend of his girlfriend.

He claimed Mr Haq made a racist remark to him but Sanders said he had lived in Preston which was a multi-cultural society and his best friend was a Sikh.

“I didn’t call him anything. There was no racism meant at all. He was following me like I was there to steal something.”

Sheriff David Sutherland said he was satisfied the Crown had proved its case beyond doubt and found Sanders guilty of a breach of the peace which was a racially aggravated.

Sanders, however, was cleared on another charge of assaulting a police officer, PC Duncan Jones, by attempting to kick him outside the Commercial Hotel, High Street, Alness on May 6.

Mr Innes said Sanders had been in custody since May 8.

“He has liver damage and is drinking rather much.”

Mr Innes said if he can stay off drink Sanders will be in line for a liver replacement.

Sheriff Sutherland jailed him for three months.

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