Mum hurled racist abuse over sofa row

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A WOMAN hurled racist abuse at an asylum seeker after a couch was dumped in her garden.

Susan Ann Atkins discovered the sofa outside of her home and instantly recognised it as the piece of furniture which had been left at a nearby property which homes asylum seekers.

Magistrates heard the 43-year-old contacted Hartlepool Borough Council and was told that as it was in her garden, she would have to pay to have it removed.

The mum-of-two then went across to the flats, rang the intercom and hurled a racist slur at the person who answered it.

Prosecuting, Lilian Atkinson said: “It was 10.30am when the complainant was at his home in a ground floor flat when the intercom was sounded.

“It’s correct to say the complainant answered and could hear a female shouting.

“She called the complainant a racist name. He left his flat via the exit door and tried to speak to the woman to calm her down. He followed her across the flats car park to her home address and she continued to be abusive to him saying racial comments.”

She added: “The complainant was distressed and upset by this incident and reported it to police. The defendant was spoken to and she made no comment to any questions put to her.”

Atkins, of Whitby Walk, in the Mainsforth Terrace area of Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to causing racial harassment, alarm or distress on December 28 last year.

Mitigating, Helen Adams said Atkins was deeply embarrassed by her outburst.

She said: “She was upset on this occasion and I’m sure you will have some sympathy for her when you hear what led up to this incident.

“My client lives a short distance from the property which is a home for asylum seekers. A sofa was dumped in her garden from this property. It had been outside of their property and when the opportunity arose it was deposited in her garden.

“The council wouldn’t move it, unfortunately they would have to charge her for it.

“This outburst was a knee-jerk reaction to this situation, it was out of character as she is ordinarily a law-abiding citizen.”

She added: “I very much doubt you will see this lady before the court again. She’s embarrassed by it, she’s remorseful and it’s sullied her good character.

“She was hoping to be a foster carer, but this may well have a bearing on that.”

Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Peter Charlton fined her £70, ordered her to pay £40 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.