Britain First deputy leader wanted Piers Morgan meeting over racist accusation
Jayda Fransen is accused of hate crimes alongside the leader of the far-right group Paul Golding.
The deputy leader of Britain First told a court that she requested a sit down meeting with Piers Morgan after he accused her organisation of being racist.
Jayda Fransen, 31, is accused of hate crimes alongside the leader of the far-right group Paul Golding, 36.
Giving evidence at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, Fransen said she has more than 2.5 million followers on social media and has been retweeted by American President Donald Trump.
Kevin Smallcombe, defending, said that Britain First is a “controversial” organisation, that was described by Piers Morgan as racist during an interview with Mr Trump.
“Yes Piers Morgan labelled me a racist, which I’m not,” Fransen replied.
“My response was to invite Piers Morgan to discuss and debate with me.
“I’m pretty certain if he allowed me to sit with him he would be more than convinced that I’m far from racist.
“He hasn’t taken me up on that offer unfortunately.”
BREAKING NEWS:— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 26, 2018
President Trump has publicly apologised for retweeting far-right group Britain First.
Says he didn't know who they were. 'I don't want to be involved with these people. If you're telling me they're horrible racist people. I certainly apologise.' pic.twitter.com/S1apSWC7rR
Fransen and Goulding were arrested in May last year over the alleged distribution of leaflets and online videos, which were posted during a trial at Canterbury Crown Court where three Muslim men and a teenager were convicted of rape and jailed.
Fransen went to the Kent home of one of the defendants, Tamin Rahmani, and shouted racist abuse through the front door, the court heard.
His pregnant partner Kelli Best said she was alone with their two children, aged three years and 18 months, at the time of the incident on May 9 last year.
She told the court that she blames Fransen for the death of her stillborn daughter.
Fransen said she has carried out campaigns against people accused of sex offences on a number of other occasions.
She denied using the phrase “Muslim bastards”, or saying that all Muslims are rapists.
“I’ve never said that and would never say that,” she told the court.
“I think it’s ridiculous, it’s such a sweeping statement that I would never make.”
She added: “As a Catholic, if it were a Catholic priest I would be inside his church asking him the same questions as I wanted to ask Tamin Rahmani.”
On a video played in court, Fransen could be seen banging on the door and shouting: “Come out and face me you disgusting rapist, come on.”
Miss Best sat shaking and crying in the witness stand as the footage was played.
She said: “It made me feel very anxious, I didn’t go outside for a long time.
“I was also pregnant at the time it happened, two days after I started to bleed heavily and lost my daughter, she was stillborn.
“I blame Jayda Fransen because there was no other reason for it to happen.”
Fransen is charged with four counts of religiously aggravated harassment and Golding with three counts.
The pair, of Penge, south east London, deny all the allegations.
Fransen was previously convicted of racially aggravated harassment relating to an incident in January 2016 involving a “Christian patrol”, the court heard.
She approached a woman in Luton town centre and told her she “had been hidden because your men can’t control their urges” and “you cover because you don’t want to be raped”, Prosecutor Madeleine Wolf said.
Golding has a previous conviction for harassing a person in their home relating to an incident in January 2015, the court heard.
Golding said he was only acting as Fransen’s cameraman, and that it was her campaign.
“Jayda asked me to accompany her as a cameraman – which I have done many, many times before,” he added.
“I was there to operate a camera.”
He told the court that Fransen edited and uploaded the footage, as well as designing and posting the leaflets.
“It was Jayda’s campaign, she took ownership of it,” he added.
“Jayda didn’t abuse anyone. I don’t believe what she did and what she said amounted to abuse.”
He said he has received “death threats, physical attacks and regular confrontations” as a result of his work with Britain First.
Evidence has concluded in the trial, verdicts will be given at 2pm on March 7.