Shropshire Star

Ex-councillor who called for 'whites only' England team after Euros loss fined £923

A former Shropshire parish councillor who posted racist comments online after England's football team lost the Euro 2020 final has avoided jail after admitting his offence.

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One of the Facebook messages

Paul Bradbury, 64, of Hawthorne Road, Minsterley, appeared before Telford magistrates court on Friday when he pleaded guilty to sending by means of a public electronic communications network a message that was grossly offensive and showed racial hostility.

Magistrates said they could have ordered a community penalty but because of Bradbury's previous good character and his caring responsibilities, fined him £923 and ordered a victim surcharge of £92 and costs of £135.

Miss Sara Beddow, prosecuting, said Bradbury, who was involved in shipping and transportation, had been a councillor with Pontesbury Parish Council. Just after 11pm on July 11, following the England/Italy match Bradbury posed two separate offensive comments on his personal Facebook account, one about the Black Lives Matter movement and the other, four minutes later, saying "whites only in future England teams".

The posts came after the penalty shoot-out in which three young, black England stars missed their spot-kicks.

Those posts which included expletives were commented on by some of the people on his page, including Miss Anna Lawson who was involved with the parish council and was of mixed heritage, Miss Beddow said.

Miss Lawson said she had been utterly disgusted and posts made her feel sick.

"She questioned how he had the right to voice the disgusting sickening views on a public platform, promoting racial hatred and doing it as a public official and representative of the community. She feared it would damage the relationship between the parish council and parishioners," Miss Beddow said.

She said the next morning when approached by a journalist from the Shropshire Star Bradbury claimed his account had been hacked.

He then went to the police station voluntarily and was arrested.

As well as the complaint from Miss Lawson there were eight other complaints.

Mr Martin Walker for Bradbury said his client had been drinking alcohol since noon and in a moment of madness had posted the remarks. While admitting they were offensive, Bradbury said he did not intend to stir up racial hatred.

"He accepts the posts were racist but maintains he is not a racist," Mr Walker said.

"He had been drinking from noon until 11pm and had had three times his normal amount of alcohol. The next day when approached by the media he panicked and made up a cock and bull story."

Bradbury had resigned from the parish council that he had been involved with for 18 months.

"During the pandemic he was involved in the local Covid support group, carried out 4,000 errands for the elderly and the sick and provided 17 Christmas dinners," Mr Walker said.

"He apologises to the parishioners and the wider community.

"He has not used social media since and apart from glass of wine on Christmas day has not touched a drop of alcohol.

"My client, who has a caring role for his mother, has suffered on a personal level, having beans, sugar, flour and salt thrown at his car and his front door and receiving an online threat."

The court was told that Bradbury and his wife were selling their house in Minsterley and moving to Yorkshire.

After Bradbury's resignation from Pontesbury Parish Council a council spokeswoman said: “Pontesbury Parish Council is aware of comments made on Facebook by a former member of the parish council. They are made by an individual not representing this council. We found these comments strongly offensive, and do not tolerate racism of any kind."

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