Payout for blind man abused in shop

A BLIND man was stopped from entering a Suffolk shop with his guide dog by a verbally abusive manageress - who told him “you can't ******* well see, why do you want to come in here?”Ipswich County Court heard yesterday how retired bricklayer John Hammond was confronted by “screaming and shouting” Leona Bracey as he tried to enter a Felixstowe antiques shop with his dog Ingram.

A BLIND man was stopped from entering a Suffolk shop with his guide dog by a verbally abusive manageress - who told him “you can't ******* well see, why do you want to come in here?”

Ipswich County Court heard yesterday how retired bricklayer John Hammond was confronted by “screaming and shouting” Leona Bracey as he tried to enter a Felixstowe antiques shop with his dog Ingram.

Mr Hammond, who was wearing a yellow sash identifying him as a guide dog user, was blocked by a furious Bracey at the Cobwebs Antique Centre last September.

The 61-year-old, from March in Cambridgeshire, was in the area on a holiday when the incident happened.


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He told the civil hearing: “I was walking with my dog and having a saunter around. I don't really look at things anymore, but I still take part.

“At this particular shop I went to the door and I was confronted by someone shouting at me. I got to the entrance when a voice said 'you're not bringing that dog in here'.”

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Mr Hammond, who has been blind for about three years through diabetes, added: “I explained it was a guide dog and she said she didn't care.

“She said she was not having him in the shop and what if he breaks things. She was screaming and shouting at me.”

In response to the disability discrimination allegation, Bracey, from Western Avenue, Felixstowe, claimed she was not abusive to Mr Hammond and allowed him into the shop on the proviso that if the dog broke anything the party would have to pay for it.

She added of Mr Hammond: “He was shouting at me saying that I should not have a shop and this that and the other.

“The man then left the shop, went into the street and was shouting 'someone help me, I have been refused entry into the shop. I went to calm the situation down but he would not have any of it.”

Bracey also said she both phoned and wrote to Mr Hammond to apologise, offering him a 25 per cent shop discount and money offers of up to £500 - all of which were refused.

During cross-examination, shop owner Kirk Bracey, who also attended the hearing, claimed his wife “doesn't shout or swear” and accused Hammond of bringing the case to court for money.

But District Judge Patrick Bazley White found in favour of Mr Hammond, awarding damages and costs of £1,834.

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