Man guilty over racist blog

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Man guilty over racist blog

February 13, 2009

A FAR RIGHT British Nationalist has been convicted of stirring up racial hatred.

Peter Barker, 54, of Holmes Street, Rochdale, posted a racist message on a website offering a £1,000 reward to anyone willing to murder a black man, a court was told.

Barker, the court heard, blamed the man for the death of his brother.

He admitted a charge of stirring up racial hatred and was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years.

Judge Elliot Knopf told him at Bolton crown court that his remarks were clearly racist.

Social damage

He said: "Remarks of a racist nature can cause grave social damage.

"You are not here to be sentenced for holding political views or for being involved in far right politics. It is clear from the reading of the notice that whatever may have been your motivation, it qualifies fully as remarks of a racist nature."

Bethan David, prosecuting, said Barker created the website called North West Nationalists Blogspot in 2006 to discuss national and regional politics.

He posted the racist message while drunk in October 2007, the court was told.

Miss David said the message offered a reward to anyone willing to murder the man. It went on to offer a 'bounty for the beating' of the man using an obscene racist term. He also included an extract from a newspaper in Sheffield reporting on a court case involving the man.

The post branded the man a 'beast' and a 'gorilla' and also alleged that he was a drug dealer. Personal details of the man were also revealed by Barker.

Miss David said the post attracted six comments before Barker removed it within 24 hours. Three appeared to be favourable, with one saying 'no problem' but the others expressed grave concerns about its legality.

Police in Manchester received an anonymous e-mail tip-off with an attachment showing the post later that month. The e-mail alleged Barker was a 'neo Nazi', the court was told.

He was arrested and admitted posting the message while drunk and claimed that the man had murdered his brother, Christopher Barker, in 2001.

Manifestos

Police searches of his house later revealed nationalist books and magazines, British National Party and National Front election manifestos, images and books of far right ideology and photographs showing men holding up Union Jacks with Rochdale National Front written along the front of them, the court heard.

A suitcase full of legal papers and reports relating to his brother's death was also found.

Miss David said: "He fully admitted that he posted the message onto the website. He said he had been drinking heavily. He said he was a British Nationalist and he created the site after falling out with the BNP in Rochdale."

The court was told an investigation into the death of Barker's brother revealed no evidence to support allegations that he was murdered.

A coroner recorded a verdict that he died from heroin toxicity.

Wayne Jackson, defending, said Barker's life had 'spiralled out of control' since his brother's death and added: "The chances of him blotting his copy book again in terms of court are minimal."

Barker will be electronically tagged for six months and was also ordered to complete a two-year supervision requirement.

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