'Carlisle isn't racist', says city's MP

The MP for Carlisle has defended the city after comments were made by a solicitor in a soldier's trial.

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MP defends "welcoming, friendly and tolerant" city

Comments made in court by a lawyer defending a Carlisle soldier who posted offensive comments online have led to a debate over the extent of racism in the city.

19 year old Warren Butler appeared in court yesterday, after admitting improper use of a communications network.

He had posted offensive remarks on Facebook after the body of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular was found in January.

On the day the body was discovered, Butler published comments about the little body's death, which were described as 'disgusting'.

Comments by Butler's defence lawyer have raised a wider issue, though.

Fabienne Macey told the court Butler had grown up in a racist family, and that reactions to his comment about the death of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular might have been be different in Carlisle.

We asked Carlisle MP John Stevenson if he thought the city was a racist area.

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Racist Facebook post 'gives an idea of the extent of the racism' in Carlisle

A solicitor representing a man who admitted posting a racist comment on Facebook has raised the wider issue of racism in Carlisle, following remarks she made about the area.

Fabienne Macey told the court Butler had grown up in a racist family, and that reactions to his comment about the death of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular might have been be different in the city.

"He has grown up in a racist family, his father and grandfather were actively racist.

"He has been brought up not to like people of a different race and that is all he has known until being 19 years old and recently joining the Army.

"In the small community of Carlisle if he was to make such a comment, he doesn't think it would get the same reaction in that community, which gives an idea of the extent of the racism in that small community."

Carlisle soldier spared jail over racist Facebook post

A soldier from Carlisle has avoided jail after he admitted posting a "disgusting" racist comment on Facebook in relation to the death of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular.

Warren Butler pleaded guilty to a charge of improper use of a communications network under section 127 of the Communications Act.

The 19-year-old had posted on the social network site: "F****** LOL to that P*** found dead, One down many more to go."

The court heard how Butler had drunk about 10 bottles of Stella lager alone while his friends were on guard duty when he wrote the comment.

Butler was sentenced to a 16-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months and 250 hours community service.

Butler was also ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £80 victim surcharge and complete a 12-month supervision order.

"Everybody has said what a despicable thing this was to do and I agree wholeheartedly.

"Those comments were in respect of a young child who had so tragically lost his life and in terms of the impact on the wider members of the family and also the impact it made across the nation - people were appalled at seeing this prejudice, completely unjustified, cruel and disrespectful."

– District Judge Philip Gillibrand
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