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Leicester man who placed pig's head outside Thurnby Lodge community centre used by Muslims spared jail


A man who placed a pig's head at the door of a community centre used by Muslims has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Liam Ferrar (24) appeared at Leicester Magistrates' Court for sentencing yesterday, after pleading guilty to religiously aggravated harassment.

Ferrar went to Thurnby Lodge Community Centre, in Thurncourt Road, Leicester, in the early hours of December 26 and placed the severed head by the locked doors.

The head was facing worshippers from Muslim group As Salaam as they arrived at the centre that morning for prayers.

District Judge John Temperley, sentencing Ferrar to 12 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months, told him: "You were well aware of the significance of your actions.

"You knew what you did would cause great distress. Indeed, that was your intention."

"The pig's head was positioned in such a way it could not be avoided by all those, including, potentially, young children, who had the misfortune to enter the building that morning.

"It is easy to imagine the shock, distress and disgust they would have felt.

"But the harm you caused goes further. Others in the community and beyond would also have been affected when news of the incident spread, prompting profound alarm, fear and insecurity."

The offence was committed at a time when protests were being held outside the community centre over plans by Leicester City Council to allow As Salaam take over a disused Scout hut nearby.

Mr Temperley said Ferrar would have been "keenly aware" of that background.

He said: "It should have been obvious what you did was intimidatory and would only serve to inflame an already tense and volatile situation."

He said the offence was so serious only a custodial sentence was justified. But Ferrar's remorse, previous good character, work in the community and the fact he was "highly unlikely to appear before a criminal court again" meant the sentence would be suspended.

The judge ordered Ferrar to complete 250 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £85.

Ferrar had been to a party before he planted the head, which he had acquired at a barbecue the previous summer and kept in a freezer at his home in Brook Road, Thurnby Lodge.

Louise Cox, prosecuting, said Ferrar was a member of the Forgotten Estates group "that has been involved in protests about the use of the Scout hut".

Ferrar, who had acted as a liaison between the group and police and was seen by officers as a "calming influence", was recognised on the centre's CCTV footage.

After being arrested on December 28, he "became tearful" and confessed.

Ferrar's solicitor, Stephen Morris, said his client was deeply ashamed of what he had done and had distanced himself from Forgotten Estates.

He said Ferrar was concerned at the lack of facilities in the area and coached a junior football team for which he paid for items from his own pocket.

When the judge said the sentence would be suspended there was a sigh of relief from Ferrar's family and supporters.

After the hearing, Maxine Williams, licensee of the Stirrup Cup pub and a founding member of Forgotten Estates, said: "I was pleased for Liam that he is not going to prison.

"He is a good chap really."

As Salaam imam Moulana Mohammed Lockhat said: "We are happy justice has been done. We hope this will discourage anyone else from taking part in acts which promote religious and racial hatred."

Mr Morris said: "My client wishes to apologise to the As Salaam Trust for any distress his actions have caused."

Read the judge's comments in full, at:


Leicester man who placed  pig's head  outside Thurnby Lodge community centre used by Muslims spared jail

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