‘Lion of London Bridge’ avoids jail after racist rant

Court Reporter (01 February, 2018) Crime

Roy Larner, 48, became a national hero after fighting off terrorists during the June 3 Borough Market attack

20760Roy Larner, pictured in January 2018

‘Lion of London Bridge’ Roy Larner – hailed a hero after fighting off three terrorists in Borough Market – has avoided jail for a racist rant at a Southwark MP’s office.

The 48-year-old was repeatedly stabbed as he fought with Islamic terrorists who killed eight and injured 48 others in London Bridge and Borough Market on June 3.

The Lions fan is famously said to have shouted ‘F*** you, I’m Millwall’ as he fought with the killers in the Black & Blue bar and restaurant.

But as he recovered from his serious injuries, a video emerged of him spitting at a black photographer and shouting abuse at anti-Brexit protestors in Elephant and Castle on February 20 last year, months before the attack.

Inner London Crown Court heard how Larner said ‘F***ing foreign c****’ before leaning in towards the photographer and spitting at him.

Then, a little over a month after his heroics during the London Bridge attack, Larner launched into a racist outburst at Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle’s office in Jamaica Road.

Speaking in court, prosecutor Carol Summers said: “On 13 July last year, it was around about midday that the defendant entered the office of his Labour MP, Neil Coyle.

“He then spoke with a member of staff at the front door and said ‘Sadiq Khan shouldn’t even be in the country’ and called him ‘a pile of s***’.

“The staff member said ‘I’m a Muslim’.

“The defendant went on to say that ‘All Muslims are the same – scum’, he then referred to Muslims as being ‘pig-eating c****’.

Neil Coyle MP in his Jamaica Road office

“He made a shotgun shooting gesture with a rolled up newspaper towards the ground.”

Defence lawyer Christopher Surtees-Jones said Larner accepted “the words are disgusting and it is very, very wrong and he feels shame for his behaviour on these two occasions”.

The judge said: “You are entitled to express your views, as they are entitled to express theirs, and they cannot expect everyone to agree with them.

“But nobody should be subjected to the kind of racist abuse, also involving spitting, that this complainant was.

“But then, ironically, you showed that you can bring great benefit because before you were arrested you became a national hero on 3 June.

“And of course you cannot use that for the rest of your life, but it is a side of your character that I must – and do – take into account.

“As you heard me say to your counsel, it is no excuse that you were a victim of a Muslim attack for you to behave in that way to people of the Muslim faith.”

Larner, of Ferndale Road, Brixton, admitted racially-aggravated common assault in respect of the incident on February 20, and religiously-aggravated harassment on July 13.

He was sentenced to eight weeks, suspended for twelve months, for spitting on the photographer and fined £50 for his anti-Islam abuse.

In addition he will submit to a rehabilitation requirement for anger management and diversity awareness, and he is banned from attending Neil Coyle MP’s office for two years.

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