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Former magistrate launched racist hammer attack on ex-tenant, court hears

PUBLISHED: 16:56 15 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:56 15 July 2019

Nigel Stringer is on trial accused of a racist attack against a former tenant. His son has also been charged over the alleged incident. Picture: Ian Burt

Nigel Stringer is on trial accused of a racist attack against a former tenant. His son has also been charged over the alleged incident. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

A former Norfolk magistrate and his son attacked a tenant with a hockey stick and a hammer and were racially abusive to him, a court has heard.

Boyland Hall in Morningthorpe, home of Nigel Stringer. Mr Stringer has been accused of a racist attack against a former tenant. Picture: Ian BurtBoyland Hall in Morningthorpe, home of Nigel Stringer. Mr Stringer has been accused of a racist attack against a former tenant. Picture: Ian Burt

Nigel Stringer came out of his Morningthorpe home holding an air rifle but returned it to the house before arming himself with a hammer which he used to hit Anthony Munatswa, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Christopher Paxton QC, prosecuting, said that Stringer's 24-year-old son Rowan had also come running out the house with a pocket knife and a hockey stick and had made a stabbing motion at Mr Munatswa with the knife and hit him with the hockey stick.

The father and son allegedly shouted at Mr Munatswa, who had climbed over a gate and walked towards the house, to get off their property and that they were going to kill him.

They also called Mr Munatswa a "n*****" multiple times and "swapped" the hockey stick and the hammer between them during the alleged attack, Mr Paxton said.

Nigel Stringer, 68, and Rowan Stringer, 24, of Boyland Hall, Hempnall Road, Morningthorpe, have denied racially aggravated assault causing actual bodily harm on January 14 last year and alternative charges of assault causing actual bodily harm and battery.

They have also denied racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.

Nigel Stringer has denied a racist attack against a former tenant. Picture: Ian BurtNigel Stringer has denied a racist attack against a former tenant. Picture: Ian Burt

The court heard that Mr Munatswa went to the Stringer family home near Long Stratton on January 14 last year with three friends to collect his belongings which had been stored by his former landlord Nigel Stringer.

Two weeks earlier a county court judge had ordered Nigel Stringer to make Mr Munatswa's belongings available for collection within 14 days and for Mr Munatswa to pay Mr Stringer £820.

Mr Munatswa had allegedly tried without success to arrange a date to collect his belongings, which included gym equipment and 50 boxes of training shoes.

After a fortnight he went to Mr Stringer's home with three friends in three cars to collect his possessions.

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On the way to the house Mr Munatswa called the police to inform them of what he was doing and then stood at Mr Stringer's gate and tried to call him to tell him he had come to collect his belongings, Mr Paxton said.

Boyland Hall in Morningthorpe, home of Nigel Stringer. Mr Stringer has denied launching a racist attack against a former tenant. Picture: Ian BurtBoyland Hall in Morningthorpe, home of Nigel Stringer. Mr Stringer has denied launching a racist attack against a former tenant. Picture: Ian Burt

After leaving a voicemail he had climbed over a gate and walked towards the house and was then allegedly confronted and attacked by Nigel Stringer and his son.

Mr Paxton said that Mr Munatswa suffered bruising and headaches as a result.

Following his arrest Nigel Stringer said Mr Munatswa had gone to his house for "trouble" and claimed Mr Munatswa had thrown punches at him.

He said he had told Mr Munatswa that he would use "reasonable force" if he had to to get him off his land.

Nigel Stringer told police he had swung the hockey stick in the air to frighten Mr Munatswa off and had struck him on the arms and legs but not on the head.

He claimed he used the word "n******" when he was warning Mr Munatswa's friends to keep off his land but denied directing the word at Mr Munatswa.

Rowan Stringer said he had picked up a hammer and a penknife when he saw Mr Munatswa on the drive and three other men in a wooded area.

He said he had swung the hammer at Mr Munatswa to intimidate him but hadn't made contact with him.

He denied using the word "n*****".

The trial,expected to last two weeks, continues.

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