Penge pair jailed for religiously-aggravated harassment
PUBLISHED: 13:05 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:20 09 March 2018
Two Penge residents have been jailed for religiously-aggravated harassment following a number of abuse incidents against Kent's Muslim community.
Jayda Fransen, 32, and Paul Golding, 36, leaders of Britain First, were arrested together on Wednesday, May 10 2017, after a number of incidents had been committed in the Thanet area.
Videos had been posted online in which Fransen claimed to be exposing four offenders who were on trial at the time for raping a teenage girl at a flat in Northwood Road, Ramsgate.
Leaflets about the case had also been distributed to members of the public.
The pair were also charged with other incidents connected to the trial, all of which took place throughout May last year. On Friday, May 5 2017, Golding filmed Fransen attempting to enter a fast food restaurant in Northwood Road, where she shouted abuse at people inside, including a man, a woman and two teenage girls, none of whom were involved in the trial or had committed any criminal offences.
Days later, Fransen banged on the front door of a house and shouted abuse while a woman and her two young children were inside.
A video of the incident was later posted online.
One vulnerable Canterbury resident was forced to move homes after an online video wrongfully identified his address as the home of one of the men on trial.
Leaflets entitled ‘Exposing Muslim Rapist’ had also been posted through his front door and those of his neighbours.
Fransen and Golding stood trial at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court in January 2018.
The chairman of the bench reserved judgement until Wednesday March 7, when he found Fransen guilty of three counts of religiously aggravated harassment and Golding one count.
Fransen was sentenced to nine months in prison and Golding was sentenced to four and a half months in prison.
Detective Inspector Bill Thornton of Kent Police said: “The crimes committed by Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were abhorrent and motivated by religious insensitivities.
“They claimed to be exposing the men who had been accused of rape when in reality they knew little about the case in question and could have put the trial at risk due to their reckless actions.
“It was the bravery of the female who was attacked and the tireless work of Kent Police detectives who ensured the men responsible are now serving a significant period of time behind bars, not because of any misguided attempt by Golding and Fransen to claim credit for their conviction by bringing religion into the equation.
“The fact that completely innocent members of the public were accused of being rapists, making them fear for their own safety, shows how little regard they have for the consequences of their actions.
“Kent Police simply will not tolerate any offences that are motivated by prejudice and hate, and will investigate all such incidents thoroughly in order to bring those responsible in front of the courts.”