Supporters of far-right group Britain First hurled abuse at a “left-wing” press and justice system as their leaders were jailed for launching a “political campaign” in which Muslims were branded paedophiles and rapists.
Leader and deputy leader Paul Golding, 36, and Jayda Fransen, 32, both of Penge, south east London, were found guilty at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday of religiously-aggravated harassment.
They were arrested on May 10 last year in an investigation into the distribution of leaflets and online videos during an on-going trial at Canterbury Crown Court.
Three Muslim men and a teenager were later jailed for raping a 16-year-old girl in a flat above the 555 Pizza takeaway in Ramsgate, Kent.
Judge Justin Barron, jailing Fransen for 36 weeks for three charges and Golding for 18 weeks for one charge, said the crimes were “deliberately planned against targeted victims”.
The court descended into chaos as he attempted to continue, but Fransen, dressed in a black suit, spoke over him and said: “This is a very sad day for British justice. Everything I did was for the children of this country and they are worth it.”
This caused cheers and applause to erupt from the public gallery as the pair were led away and Judge Barron temporarily left the court room before concluding his directions.
As supporters left the court room, they hurled abuse at court staff and members of the press, branding the proceedings a “shambles” and shouting: “Left-wing twats, scumbags, no surrender” and adding: “If we say anything these days we get sent to prison.”
The pair visited the 555 Pizza takeaway on May 5. Golding was filming while Fransen banged on the windows and doors, screaming “paedophile” and a “foreigner” as two children played in the middle of the shop and Jamshed Khesrow, a friend of the owners, was inside.
Mr Khesrow said Fransen was shouting: “Come out you paedophile. You’re a rapist. Come outside, I want to talk to you.”
He said he was “so scared” and she was “aggressive and angry”.
Later, she shouted out: “I’m not scared of the police. I don’t care about the police.”
Judge Justin Barron said the crimes were deliberately planned against targeted victims
Mother-of-two Kelli Best blamed Fransen for her daughter being stillborn after she was subjected to racist abuse in her home.
Fransen shouted through the front door of defendant Tamin Rahmani’s home when Miss Best, who was pregnant, was alone with their two children – aged three and 18-months-old – on May 9.
Giving evidence from behind a screen, she said: “She (Fransen) was making racist remarks: ‘Dirty Muslim rapist, come out, we’re not going to leave until you’re gone, come out. Dirty scumbags’.
“It was directed at Tamin because she thought he was in there but he wasn’t.”
She said two days later she started to bleed heavily and her daughter was stillborn, adding: “I blame Jayda Fransen because there was no other reason for it to happen.”
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Miss Best said she was “traumatised” by the ordeal and had panic attacks. She said her three-year-old son was still scared when someone came to the door and would follow her around the house.
Judge Barron said it was “impossible” to find Britain First responsible for the stillbirth based on the evidence he saw, but accepted their actions caused further stress to those associated with the defendants who had been on trial at the time.
Ikram Safai was told to move house by social services after Fransen mistakenly targeted his home, believing it to be that of Sershah Muslimyar – another defendant in the trial.
Mr Safai, originally from Afghanistan, found a video on the Britain First website which showed Fransen knocking on his door, identifying it as the home of Muslimyar – but he had moved out some two years earlier.
In the video she shouted: “Come out dirty Muslim. Rapist Muslim. Come out and speak to me face-to-face if you’re man enough.”
The group distributed leaflets wrongly identifying Faiz Rahmani, the brother of defendant Tamin Rahmani, as Muslimyar.
Golding was cleared of his involvement in this incident.
Judge Barron said their words and actions “demonstrated hostility” towards Muslims and the Muslim faith, adding: “I have no doubt it was their joint intention to use the facts of the case [in Canterbury] for their own political ends.
“It was a campaign to draw attention to the race, religion and immigrant background of the defendants.”
Restraining orders were granted to stop the pair contacting victims and witnesses in the case. Fransen was ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation to those affected and Golding was told to pay £500.
Another charge against the pair, based on allegations Fransen told Faiz Rahmani that Muslims were “bastards and rapists” when approaching him outside Canterbury Crown Court, was dismissed.