A 47 year old unemployed Dukinfield man, was found guilty last week at Tameside Magistrates Court of 'racially aggravated harassment' of his next door neighbour.
Kevin Roy West of Glenmore Grove, Dukinfield, who is standing as an independent candidate in the Tameside local elections in May, pleaded not guilty to the charge but offered no evidence and declined to challenge the prosecution evidence himself. He will appear for sentencing next month.
The court was told that West a former BNP candidate in the local Tameside elections, had put poppies and flags on Armistice Day outside the home of his German neighbour Mr. Bernd Kugow, a freelance photographer, and had then added to the display over the next four months. Tameside magistrates were told that when West had then been asked to remove part of the display from a shared wall, he had called Mr. Kugow a 'Kraut *******' and had told him to **** off back to Krautland.
This is the second occasion where West has been found guilty of the racial abuse of Mr. Kugow. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to racial abuse and was fined £125 and ordered to pay £200 costs and £50 compensation to Mr. Kugow. On that occasion, Tameside magistrates were told that West had become abusive when Mr. Kugow had objected to an attempt by West to attach a Union Jack flag to his shed. Mr. Kugow told the court that West 'flew into a rage' calling him Kraut ******* before adding 'kill some more Jews' and to 'remember Dunkirk'. Mr. Kugow told Tameside magistrates that West had later apologised over the incident and had sat crying in his kitchen as he admitted his guilt. Kevin Nicholas, defending West, said that his client: "deeply regretted his behaviour and found it hard to face up to his actions which happended at a time when he was under stress and not sleeping well."
Although the BNP as within its ranks people with serious criminal convictions, they told a local newspaper at the time that they would be reviewing the membership of Roy West adding, "because we don't like people having criminal convictions." After his conviction in 2009, West said that it was a 'politically motivated persecution'.
After last weeks hearing at Tameside magistrates court, Ms Susan Holt the partner of Mr. Kugow, told the local press: "Everything has been directed at us because Bernd is German....Strangely it isn't a guilty verdict which I'm pleased about - I just want the harassment to stop." Why West (a former BNP candidate) should have so much difficulty getting on with his German next-door neighbour is indeed strange and more so, since he has campaigned in past elections as a candidate who is "Helping the community all the year round" and a candidate, who "cares about making your community a better place." But as they say up North, 'there's nowt so queer as folk'