Racist pensioner, 75, threatened pound shop owner with knife during argument over a bunch of flowers

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A pensioner with "vile" and "entrenched" racist views threatened a shopkeeper with a knife during a row over a bunch of flowers.

Seventy-five-year-old Stephen Batty brandished the blade at the owner of the Pounds Bargain shop in Pontefract after being caught trying to steal flowers

Prosecutor Jade Edwards told the court that Batty had taken the bunch of flowers from the Bridge Street shop at around 3.45pm on August 13 this year, but was spotted by the owner.

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After being confronted, he told the owner he was planning to come back to pay for them, offering to give him £1 for the £20 bouquet.

Leeds Crown CourtLeeds Crown Court
Leeds Crown Court

He then began arguing and told the shopkeeper to "go back to your own f*****g country".

Batty returned several times over the next few hours, eventually bringing a knife with him.

He waved the weapon at the shaken shop owner while hurling more racist abuse at him.

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Batty returned to the shop two days later and confronted the owner again, telling him not to attend court and said that he would cause trouble for him if he did.

Four days after that, the court was told that Batty got into another argument, this time with his neighbour and again brandished a knife, for which he was also arrested for.

Batty, of The Maltings, Pontefract, has 13 previous convictions but it was the first time he had been before a court for 40 years.

He admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, possessing a knife in public, making threats with a knife and intimidating a witness.

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Richard Canning, mitigating, said Batty had been feeling lonely and due to lockdown had little contact with people, but was now feeling better while being held on remand.

He said: "He would prefer to be out but is comfortable where he is. He is not chomping at the bit to be released.

"He does apologise for his actions but he clearly does have entrenched views."

Judge Rodney Jameson told him: "You clearly took leave of your senses.

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"It was thought that you might be suffering from some sort of mental illness, but that appears not to be the case.

"Whatever your entrenched views on race, vile as they may be, they are not my concern.

"What is my concern is that you carry a knife as a matter of course. That will stop. It does not matter what your age is."

He handed him a two-year jail sentence, suspended for two years.