A man caught on video racially abusing two Exeter students has been sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work.
After Kalsoom Naqvi and Tayiba Hussain captured Stephen Scatcherd, 59, using threatening and abusive language towards them, Exeter Magistrates’ Court sentenced him to community work. Having likened Muslims to cockroaches, Scatcherd pleaded guilty to a racially aggravated charge of harassment.
The sentencing comes after the two students were walking down Sidwell Street on May 28, and the stranger began making “bomb jokes” and racist slurs such as “Where are you from, ‘cos you’re not from England?”
The girls originally walked away, then returned to video the man who was at first camera shy.
However, having regained his interest in the girls, Scatcherd announced to the camera: “Do you know the biggest problem with this county at the moment…Muslims absolutely raiding this country…you’re like cockroaches”
The man then repeatedly asked Kalsoom and Tayiba where they were from, and berated the girls for wearing a hijab in England.
In the Facebook post accompanying the video, Kalsoom wrote: “He decided to make some very funny, intelligent and educated bomb jokes (something of the sort a primary child might say): ‘I hear a trigger going off… Kaboom!’ and followed up with some racist comments telling us to ‘Go back home’, and ‘This is not your country’.”
The video has been viewed over 210,000 times since being posted on May 29.
Clips of the video were also shown on ITV’s This Morning and Kalsoom was interviewed on the programme.
In an interview with Exeter Express and Echo, Kalsoom said: “We were both in Islamic headdresses, I was wearing jeans, my friend was in cultural clothes.
“I felt confusion really. I don’t feel that any person, regardless of their faith or their race, should be targeted like that, for no reason whatsoever.”
The University of Exeter graduate also expressed dismay that other students did not help the two girls, telling the Echo: “I decided to post the video on Facebook because I wanted to make the point that people should intervene when they see something like this happening.
“They should intervene and stand up for their fellow citizen. At first that didn’t happen, then someone finally did intervene.
“I also wanted to raise awareness that incidents like this do happen, and they should not be downplayed, I want to encourage people to report them to the police.”
Meanwhile, Scatcherd, who police identified using stills from Kalsoom’s video, felt he had been provoked.
After contacting the Echo, he stated:
“I have not done anything or said anything that was anti-Islamic or racist. I had a point of view which might have been a little over the top, but it was not racist. I feel I was intimidated into losing my temper and saying things that were out of character that I would never normally have said.”
Scatcherd appeared surprised at the turn of events, adding: “There are much more important things to worry about in Exeter than this.
Someone has got their 15 minutes of fame, it is certainly not me. I just wanted a quiet afternoon out.
Exeter is full of surprises, I was unfortunately involved in this one.”