July 7 racist escapes jail

A racist who accused a Pakistani shopkeeper of being a “bomb-maker” in the wake of the July 7 tragedy has escaped jail.Matthew Moore, 22, of Rown Close, Thetford, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated abuse when he appeared at Norwich Crown Court.

A racist who accused a Pakistani shopkeeper of being a “bomb-maker” in the wake of the July 7 tragedy has escaped jail.

Matthew Moore, 22, of Rown Close, Thetford, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated abuse when he appeared at Norwich Crown Court. The court heard he had a history of racial abuse but he was given a six month suspended prison sentence because he has turned his life around in recent months.

In August 2005 - a month after July 7 and a week after the failed London bombings - Moore went into the newsagent at the Pine Close parade of shops in Thetford. He had been drinking heavily and quickly became abusive toward shopkeeper Ramesh Kandasamy.

Prosecutor Hugh Vass said: “He told him he was a bomb-maker and he was putting bombs in 'his country'. When police arrived he abused them and said 'all Islamics should be arrested and you are wasting your time targeting petty criminals when you should be targeting bombers'.”

Defence counsel Anne Gray said the offence should be taken in the context of national tensions at the time. She said: “He was drunk and this was just weeks after the bombings when there was widespread paranoia.

“But that does not excuse what he did because it was also a difficult time for Asian people.”

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In 2002 Moore was found guilty of abusing a Turkish victim while drunk.

In addition to the suspended sentence Recorder Guy Ayers ordered Moore to complete a 24 month supervision order, carry out 80 hours unpaid work, pay £500 compensation and £200 costs.

Mr Ayers said: “You behaved in a disgraceful way. The fact you were drunk is no excuse whatsoever. The type of person you are is demonstrated by the fact this is not the first time you have displayed such behaviour.

“It is no excuse that it was shortly after July 7. Somebody working in a shop in Thetford had no involvement in those events and this simply shows your ignorance.”