Community order for man who verbally abused disabled woman in parking row

14/02/2017

A man has been given a three month community order, after shouting and swearing at a disabled woman, after she challenged him about whether he had a permit to park in a disabled bay in New Ash Green.

The victim, who uses two crutches to walk and is registered disabled, saw a car parked in the bay outside a doctor's surgery, but it was not displaying a blue badge parking permit, so she asked the man in the car if he had a permit.

Billy Coleman then screamed abuse at the woman, related to her disability, making this a disability hate crime. He drove off, but was tracked down, after the woman remembered his number plate and asked a passer-by to write the details down.

Mr. Coleman was also given an electronic curfew between 10:00pm and 6:00am for 48 days and this additional part of the sentence was only imposed because this offence was classed as a disability hate crime. This is known as a sentencing uplift, which increases the sentence for any offence where a defendant showed hostility or an offence is shown to have been motivated by hostility based on age, disability, homophobia and transphobia or racist and/or religious grounds.

He was also ordered to pay £310 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Chief Crown Prosecutor Jaswant Narwal said: "Disability hate crime is an insidious crime, where the victims are often those least able to defend themselves. This is why they are taken so seriously and sentencing uplifts, which recognise the hostility shown by the defendant, are imposed in these cases.

"Sadly, incidents such as this are not uncommon. For example, in another case recently, a man spat in the face of a disabled man, who was injured while serving with the Royal Air Force, in an attack over disabled parking spaces.

"These spaces are for reserved those who have been allocated permits because of their disabilities and it is extremely disturbing that we still have people who refuse to accept this and then abuse those who have a right to use them."