Melton man jailed after knife incident outside London mosque
A judge has slammed prosecutors for failing to charge a knifeman with racism after he screamed vile abuse at worshippers outside a mosque.
Jonathan Russell (32) waved a blade at two men on their way to prayers before snarling: "Where's Allah to protect you now?''
Crown Prosecution Service lawyers decided not to class the crime as racially-motivated because they said he was "commenting generally''.
Russell, of Swan Close, Melton, admitted theft, possessing an offensive weapon and threatening behaviour, and was sentenced for the offences at Westminster Magistrates' Court yesterday.
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Passing sentence, District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe demanded an explanation from the CPS, saying: "It's remarkable that it wasn't racially-aggravated. This was just outside a mosque."
Russell targeted the men outside the Regent's Park Mosque, in central London, on August 14.
Carol Summers, prosecuting, said: "They were walking along the pavement when they became aware of this defendant talking very loudly."
Ms Summers said Russell swore at the men.
"All of a sudden, the defendant reached into his jacket pocket and took out a pocket knife. He opened it and chased them," she told the court.
"As one of the victims ran, he took off his coat and threw it on the ground. Russell picked it up.
"When he was asked to give it back, he threw the knife," said Ms Summers. "It landed on the ground and broke to pieces."
Police arrested Russell, who was previously convicted of unlawful wounding in 2002, after finding him hiding in bushes nearby.
Jailing him for 50 weeks, Judge Roscoe told Russell he had caused a "very nasty and frightening incident".