Racist ex-soldier who stuck a pig's head to mosque gates in 'revenge' for extremists burning poppies is jailed for four months
- Simon Parkes wrote 'Allah' on the pig's snout in revenge attack
- Painted 'rag heads out' on walls of Cheltenham Mosque
- Head discovered by early-morning worshipper wanting to use mosque
Simon Parkes, 45, tied the animal's head to the front of Cheltenham Mosque, Gloucestershire, after seeing a group of Muslims burning poppies on Remembrance Sunday 2010.
He also wrote 'Allah' on the pig's snout in what was seen as an 'act of revenge' against the Muslim religion.
Parkes also painted 'rag heads out' on the side of the mosque.
Gloucester Crown Court heard that his actions had distressed worshippers at the mosque and served to heighten racial tensions.
Sentencing him Judge Jamie Tabor QC, said: 'Not only soldiers but the majority of citizens of this country were offended by seeing the poppies burnt.
'They, however, did not react as you did. You deliberately set out to not only insult another religion but you undertook to inflame and enhance racial tension.'
Parkes went to the mosque with an unknown accomplice in the early hours of November 13, 2010 and placed the pig's head on the gate at the front.
Pigs are seen as being unclean in the Muslim and Jewish religion so Parkes' actions will have been deeply offensive to anyone who saw what he had done.
They used red paint to daub graffiti on the building which was found a few hours later by a worshipper who was 'deeply offended' by what he saw.
Prosecutor Lisa Hennessy said: 'On the gates was a disembodied pig’s head which had been tied on a head level by what appeared to be shoe laces.
'Written on the head, down the nose, was the name of Allah. He removed the head as quickly as he could. Two passers by removed the head from the vicinity and placed it in a bin.
Since the poppy burning, the extremist Muslim group that carried it out has been formally banned.
Muslims Against Crusades was made a proscribed terrorist group by Home Secretary Theresa May meaning they could face up to 10 years in prison.
After receiving his penalty the 26 year old said: 'I don't have any respect for British soldiers, and if they lose a limb or two in Afghanistan then they deserve it.'
Choudhury, from Bethnal Green, East London, was found guilty of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour by District Judge Howard Riddle, following a one-day trial and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.
Parkes, who served in Northern Ireland and the Falklands, uploaded pictures onto the internet three weeks later and boasted about his actions.
In police interview he admitted to carrying out the attack after seeing a news item about Muslim extremists burning poppies two days earlier.
He pleaded guilty to racially aggravated criminal damage and racially aggravated intentional harassment at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court earlier this month.
Defending him, Stephen Thomas, said Parkes had suffered a number of difficult set-backs leading up to the event and was sorry for what he had done.
He said: 'The catalyst was when he saw the poppy burning at Queen Kensington only two days before. He does not seek to use it as an excuse but it goes some way.
'He believed in his mind that this behaviour was the same as what the Muslim extremists had done. He accepts now his behaviour went beyond the traditional freedom of speech.
'He was a soldier who served in Northern Ireland and the Falklands among others and although he was assessed some time ago as having no issues with post traumatic stress disorder he suffered severe flashbacks.
Judge Tabor added that the crime was obviously premeditated and by putting the photographs online he was in no doubt he was 'revelling' in what he had done.
He handed Parkes a four month prison sentence after reducing the time due to his guilty plea and his 'still untreated PTSD'.
After sentencing, a spokesman from Cheltenham Mosque said: 'This was a very shocking incident for the whole community Muslim and Non-Muslim alike.
'We would like to re-iterate our thanks to the police, the council and the local neighbours for their tremendous support.
'The damage was dealt with very quickly in order for normality to be achieved and we have left the rest to the authorities and the justice system to deal with.'
Inspector Tim Waterhouse, from Gloucestershire Police, said: 'I hope this sentence sends out a clear message that this sort of appalling criminal behaviour will not be tolerated.
'Although this disturbing incident happened nearly two years ago a painstaking and difficult enquiry has led to today’s sentencing.
'The message is clear that we will not stop in our determination to target criminals and keep people and our communities safe from harm.'