Friday, 25 January 2013


This article appears on the front pages of today's Leicester Mercury:

Pig's head man told he could go to jail
A man who placed a pig’s head outside a community centre used for prayers by Muslims has been warned he faces a possible jail sentence for the offence.
Liam Ferrar (24) appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ Court today to admit religiously aggravated harassment aimed at the Muslim community.
The court heard that Ferrar had acquired the pig’s head at a wedding the previous summer, and kept it in a freezer at his home in Brook Road, Thurnby Lodge, Leicester.
On Christmas night last year, December 25, he went to Thurnby Lodge Community Centre, in Thurncourt Road, and placed the head by the locked doors.
The head was facing out, towards the worshippers from Muslim group As Salaam who arrived at the centre the following morning, Boxing Day.
Louise Cox, prosecuting, said: “He was drunk and had been to a party and decided to get it out of his freezer and leave it outside the community centre.
“He did know the impact it would have.”
The community centre has been the scene of regular protests since the summer over a former Scout hut nearby, which Leicester City Council was going to allow As Salaam members to use for prayers instead of the community centre.
The protesters wanted the Scout hut to be kept for use by the wider community.
Miss Cox said the community centre keyholder, who was the first member of As Salaam on the scene on Boxing Day, later told police he was upset by the sight of what he at first had thought was a cat.
“He said he was sickened and disgusted and quickly returned to his vehicle,” she said.
Miss Cox added that the keyholder “said the protest had led to people congregating outside at prayer time and shouting racist comments”, and that “he has heard a number of those racist comments.”
She said Ferrar was a member of the Forgotten Estates campaign group “that has been involved in the protests about the use of the Scout hut”.
“There’s intelligence about this defendant playing a fundamental role in the protest group,” she said.
Ferrar, who at times acted as a liaison between the protest group and the police, was recognised by officers viewing CCTV footage, the hearing was told.
After being arrested on December 28, Ferrar “became tearful” and confessed, the court heard.
After the worshippers found the pig’s head, As Salaam imam Moulana Mohammed Lockhat decided to call the police, who removed it.
Miss Cox told the court Mr Lockhat said in his statement that the incident was “extremely distressing” for the worshippers, “The pig is a creature Muslims are forbidden from using any part of,” she said.Miss Cox added Mr Lockhat had said that “prior to the pig’s head incident, he received malicious communications in relation to pig’s heads and blood”.
There was no suggestion in court of who might have sent the “malicious communications”, nor by what means they were sent.The case was adjourned for a probation report.
District judge John Temperley told Ferrar it was an “extremely serious case”, and that “all options, including custody” were being considered.
Ferrar has been required by a court order to live outside the Thurnby Lodge area, and has been staying with a relative in West End, Leicester.
Steve Morris, representing Ferrar, made an application for his client to be allowed back onto the Thurnby Lodge estate, but the application was declined.
Ferrar is due back at Leicester Magistrates’ Court next month for sentencing.
After the hearing, Maxine Williams, licensee of the estate’s Stirrup Cup pub, and a founding member of the Forgotten Estates group, said: “When it happened I was so saddened by the whole affair and it was very sad and distressing for the Muslims, no doubt.
“I think it’s very sad that it’s so out of character for Liam to do anything like this at all.
“He’s a lovely boy and I still can’t believe it was him.”
She added: “It’s so sad he’s done it and the consequences are so harsh.”

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