Racist convicted over abuse of betting shop staff

|News, Hate crime

A Coral betting shop customer who shouted racist abuse has been convicted of a hate crime.

He swore and used a racist term against the Afro-Caribbean member of staff and added that: ‘When Brexit comes you will be gone”.

John Keogh, 74, was angered when his winnings were placed on the counter rather than in his hand at the Peckham High Street bookmaker. He went on to verbally abuse the shop worker, shouting racist slurs at her during the incident in August. Staff at the branch recognised Keogh boarding a bus a few days later and reported him to the police.

He initially denied being in the betting shop on the day in question.

Today, [1 July] Keogh pleaded guilty at Croydon Magistrates’ Court to a racially aggravated public order offence. He was given a 12-month uplifted community order, including a 10-week 8pm to 6am curfew, and ordered to pay £350 in costs and £250 compensation.

Ian Johnson, from the CPS, said: “With no provocation John Keogh unleashed a torrent of racist abuse on a member of staff at the bookmakers where he was collecting his winnings.

“Thanks to the witness statements and the victim and witnesses identifying him, the CPS was able to secure a conviction.

“Shop workers should be entitled to go about their work without facing racial abuse such as this, and we hope this conviction can bring the victim, as well as her colleagues, some confidence that justice has been served.

“Hate crime has a corrosive effect on our society and the CPS will not hesitate to prosecute those who commit these crimes. Perpetrators may also face sterner sentences imposed by the courts to reflect the nature of the crime.”

Notes to editors

  • John Keogh [DOB: 27.09.1944] is from Bermondsey in the London borough of Southwark.
  • Keogh pleaded to one count of using threatening / abusive / insulting words / behaviour to cause harassment / alarm / distress and one count of Racially / religiously aggravated intentional harassment / alarm / distress - words / writing
  • Ian Johnson is senior crown prosecutor on the London South-Central Magistrates Court Unit.
     

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