Pensioner told black woman ‘when Brexit comes you will be gone’

John Keogh leaves Croydon Magistrates Court in south London. Photograph: Jess Glass/PA Wire.

John Keogh leaves Croydon Magistrates Court in south London. Photograph: Jess Glass/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

A pensioner who told a black woman working in a betting shop 'when Brexit comes you will be gone' has been given a fine and a ban.

John Keogh, 74, appeared at Croydon Magistrates' Court and admitted committing a racially aggravated offence in August last year.

As well as the fine, he was handed a 12-month community order and ordered to pay costs and compensation to his victim.

Keogh lashed out at Anneka Davis while she was working at the Coral bookmakers in Peckham, south London, last year.

Prosecutor Jacqui Hughes said he told Davis she would be "gone" after becoming impatient while he waited for a £200 betting win to be handed over.

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Hughes said: "Mr Keogh came into the bookmakers to claim some winnings.

"He became impatient and when he was given the money, he told her, 'When Brexit comes you will be gone'.

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"She asked him what he meant by that and asked him to leave."

Keogh also admitted calling Davis a "f****** n*****" as he left the shop, clenching his fists as he approached her at the door and causing her to "fear for her safety".

Davis attended court to give evidence and said she was unable to work for five days after the incident because of stress.

She said: "Due to the comments made by the man in question, I questioned whether I was welcome in this country as a black person.

"Due to the climate and everything that is going on with Brexit, I felt that I was questioning myself and whether I belonged.

"I was born in this country and I have lived here all my life. I can't help that I was born black."

Tariq Al-Mallak, defending, said there was "no explanation that could justify that behaviour" before telling the court Keogh suffers from PTSD following a car accident.

Chairman of the bench Douglas Hunter handed Keogh a community order lasting 12 months, in addition to a 10-week nightly curfew.

Hunter said: "People should be able to go to their place of work without fear of being abused in any way.

"It has had an impact on this young lady far beyond just that incident."

Keogh was also ordered to pay £250 in compensation to Davis, costs of £350 and was banned from the Coral shop for one year.

The 74-year-old glared at Davis in the public gallery as he left court.

Keogh, of Lindsey Street, Bermondsey, admitted one count of racially aggravated public disorder.

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