Britain First Deputy leader guilty after hurling abuse at Muslim woman in Hijab

Jayda Fransen, Deputy Leader Britain First. Credit: PA

The deputy leader of far-right group Britain First has been found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment after hurling abuse at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab in front of her four young children.

Jayda Fransen, 30, was fined nearly £2,000 at Luton and South Bedfordshire Magistrates' Court for wearing a political uniform and shouting at Sumayyah Sharpe during a "Christian patrol" of Bury Park in Luton on Saturday January 23.

Fransen admitted telling Ms Sharpe that Muslim men force women to cover up to avoid being raped "because they cannot control their sexual urges", adding "that's why they are coming into my country raping women across the continent".

But she denied the words were intended to be offensive.

"The reason I said them was because from everything I have studied, I understand them to be true," Fransen said in her defence.

I have no doubt the words used towards her (Ms Sharpe), in her expression, represented everything against her and what she believes in. In other words, offensive, insulting, abusive and, in my judgment, intended to cause offence and alarm and distress to her religion.

Jayda Fransen, Deputy Leader Britain First

District Judge Carolyn Mellanby said she believed the group had gone to the area "looking for trouble" - but said Ms Sharpe had been mistaken as an "easy target".

Fransen, who was elected deputy leader of Britain First in autumn 2014, was also found guilty of wearing a political uniform in a public place.

The deputy leader was dressed in a green coat with a Britain First lapel and black beanie hat bearing the party's emblem during the patrol, which District Judge Mellanby ruled was "similar attire" to the rest of the group and signified her association to the party.

Fransen was fined £1,000 for the religiously aggravated harassment and £200 for wearing a political uniform. She was also ordered to pay £620 in costs - as well as a £100 surcharge - and issued with a two-year restraining order to prevent her from contacting Ms Sharpe or engaging in intimidating behaviour towards her.