A protester who threw a Five Guys milkshake over Nigel Farage has been ordered to pay the Brexit Party politician £350 for the ‘politically motivated’ assault.
Paul Crowther splattered Nigel Farage in banana and salted caramel milkshake when he was campaigning in Newcastle for the EU elections on May 20.
When he was arrested at the scene, he said it was “a right of protest against people like him”.
The married former Sky employee has lost his job following the incident and has suffered threats of violence, North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told.
He admitted assault and criminal damage to a £239 lapel microphone on Farage’s suit.
District Judge Bernard Begley, who told Crowther he had carried out an “act of crass stupidity”, ordered him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and £350 to Farage to have the suit cleaned.
James Long, prosecuting, said: “I suppose for the split second the attack took place, Farage would not know whether it was a harmless liquid or something, in this day and age, far more sinister.”
He said it was clear from a Facebook posting before the incident that Crowther intended to throw milkshake on the politician.
A friend replied saying: “I hope you return to the office sans milkshake.”
It took 20 minutes for a police van to take him away after he was arrested, and Crowther was interviewed by journalists.
At the time, he justified his actions, saying he did not regret it and that “the bile and the racism he spouts out in this country is far more damaging than a bit of milkshake to his front”.
He later told police when he was interviewed that it was a “moment of madness”, “a loss of control” and he watched himself do it.
Farage gave a statement to the police, saying: “Without warning this male has thrown a liquid substance directly at me,” saying he had been “embarrassed” in full view of the public and the media.
It put an end to his campaigning in Newcastle, he said.
In a victim statement, he added: “I am concerned because of the behaviour of individuals like this, the normal democratic process cannot continue in a lawful and peaceful manner.”
Brian Hegarty, defending, said there was a long history of protesters throwing food at politicians going back hundreds if not thousands of years.
He said Crowther now regretted his actions.
Crowther, who has an interest in politics, believed in democracy and did not want to be seen to be trying to silence people with whom he disagreed, the court was told.
Crowther, who respects the result of the referendum, disagreed with being called a “radicalised Remainer” by Farage following the incident.
Since the incident Crowther has suffered from repeated threats of violence and has had regular police checks to his address in Throckley, Newcastle, the judge was told.
Crowther has been dismissed from his job and threats have been made to a dog charity where he volunteered.
Hegarty said the attack was not premeditated for long, pointing out the £5.25 price of the milkshake and that there were cheaper options nearby it was a planned incident.
A GoFundMe page entitled Get Paul Crowther his Milkshake Money Back was closed after it reached £1,705.
Hegarty said: “Ordinarily a man of his position would receive a caution.
“The fact is, it is said to be a politically motivated incident which has caused him to appear before this court and caused him to lose his good name.”