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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Court told that savage attack on shop manager was racist

A SAVAGE attack was launched on a supermarket manager by a gang who had been drinking heavily the night before, the Old Bailey was told this week.

It was alleged that three 19-year-olds, Mark Hattam, of Ranleigh Walk, Harpenden, Stuart Cameron, of Glemsford Drive, Harpenden, and Steven Kent, of Lowestoft, turned up drunk at Sainsbury's in the town two hours before it was due to open on Sunday, May 28, last year.

When duty manager Gurminder Singh, who is in his thirties, tried to stop them forcing their way in, the gang punched and kicked him, leaving him with a fractured cheekbone.

All three pleaded not guilty to a charge of affray and Kent and Hattam also deny racially aggravated grievous bodily harm. Cameron is pleading guilty to the latter charge.

Prosecutor Jamie De Burgos said the three teenagers had arrived at the store in a state of intoxication during what was a Bank Holiday weekend. The store opened at 10am and as staff were arriving early for work that morning, so did the three defendants.

They appeared at the front door and tried to force their way in by pressing the glass doors. Mr Singh, a Sikh of Asian appearance, opened the door to speak to them.

He was immediately abused about the opening time of the store and was told they had fouled the supermarket lift. They then turned to his racial origin, accusing him of being a Muslim before he corrected them and said he was of Sikh origin.


Mr Singh asked them to leave and a fight broke out. Witnesses saw the duty manager being punched in the face repeatedly then kicked as he lay on the ground trying to protect himself.

His colleague David Wilson tried to pull the men away and was himself punched several times in the face.

The trio began walking away but rushed back to attack Mr Singh again when he got to his feet and started shouting at them. Staff managed to restrain Hattam but both Kent and Cameron fled. [Link]

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