Northampton man racially abuses Muslim neighbour before assaulting her husband

Judge: 'You should be ashamed of yourself because of how you behaved that day and you let yourself down badly'

Monday, 25th October 2021, 3:47 pm

A Northampton man was given a suspended jail sentence for racially abusing his Muslim neighbour in front of her child and assaulting her husband.

Martin Sharp's 'disgusting' behaviour was sparked by the woman accusing a member of his family being involved in expletives being scratched on her car in 2019, the court heard.

The 40-year-old, of Cambria Crescent, Weston Favell, was also given a restraining order and fined at Northampton Crown Court today (Monday, October 25).

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Northampton Crown Court

Recorder Graham Huston told him: "Your behaviour was escalated by racist views which heightened your hostility to this couple.

"You should be ashamed of yourself because of how you behaved that day and you let yourself down badly."

Lucia Harrington, prosecuting, explained the mum noticed her car had been vandalised at around 5.50pm on July 10, 2019.

She went to Sharp's address to ask him if he knew anything about it and see the damage.

The defendant denied any involvement by anyone in his family so the woman said her husband would 'sort it out' once he was home from work .

Sharp then got aggressive thinking she had said her husband would 'sort him out', she told him to 'get lost' before he tried to pull the keys out of the car ignition, but only ripping off the fobs.

He then said an racially offensive comment to her, which caused the woman to become scared, the court heard.

Sharp repeated the racist abuse and refused to give back the key fobs before eventually throwing them on the ground after an intervention from his wife.

Recorder Huston said: "That's pretty disgusting behaviour and she not unnaturally was extremely frightened of being abused further as your head was in the car."

At around 6.30pm, the victim and her husband came home and met Sharp on the road who again became agitated, threatening to 'knock his head off' if he came any closer.

The defendant tried to punch the man but missed before grabbing him by the neck and shirt, pushing him into a bush and threatening to get a crowbar but neighbours intervened.

The father said in a statement made in January 2020: "I can't understand how he can behave like this and I couldn't do anything in return.

"He racially abused my wife in the street...this is not acceptable."

The mum said she was scared of Sharp and added it had taken a toll on her mental and physical health as she couldn't sleep, had headaches and was taking anti-depressants.

Sharp initially denied the racist abuse, telling police the victims were the ones who had been shouting and swearing at him rather than the other way around, but admitting to the assault - he pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial.

James Smith-Wilds, defending, said his client was unable to fully explain why he had been 'an idiot who acted wholly inappropriately' but insisted he is not a racist or violent.

He added there had been no other altercations between the neighbours in the many years they had lived opposite each other nor since incident more than two years ago.

Recorder Huston told Sharp: "It was an extremely unpleasant incident involving you losing your temper and and being aggressive and abusive in the most base, racially aggravated way."

The judge sentenced him to 14 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months and told him to pay £200 in costs and complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.