‘Terrorists’ comment to Muslim shop worker lands Ipswich man in court

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court - Credit: Archant

“Calling wine booze is like calling all Muslims terrorists, like you.” This is the remark that has caused a teenage shop assistant in Ipswich to feel fearful for her life and no longer part of the community that she was born and raised in, a court has heard.

Rand Moore, of Cromarty Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty yesterday to racially aggravated harassment following a “misunderstanding” at a store in the town on Tuesday, July 5.

South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court was told Moore, 44, went to the shop at 7.30pm to buy a bottle of wine, but became “irate” when the salesgirl at the checkout, who is a Muslim and was wearing a headscarf, referred to it as “booze”.

Prosecutor David Bryant said: “She called out to her manager about the fact she was selling booze, she used the word booze. That appeared to have irritated Mr Moore, but finding out he was 10p short he went out and seemed to be perfectly polite, but when he came back soon after that he seemed to have a completely different demeanour.”

Moore, who is from Canada, told the girl he was insulted by the term booze and he was going to enjoy the bottle of wine with his wife, adding: “By calling it booze you are making out I’m boozing it up.”

Sue Threadkell, for Moore, said her client had struggled with “hard liquor” for 10 years, but had managed to get his life on the right path and was settled down with a wife and four children.

The salesgirl, who cannot be identified because of her age, tried to reassure Moore she had not meant to offend him, and he replied: “Calling wine booze is like calling all Muslims terrorists, like you.”

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In a victim statement read out in court, the girl said: “I could feel a sharp pain go through my body, I could feel my face draining and he kept repeating the phrase over and over again. I was crying so much I was hysterical.”

Ms Threadkell said Moore, who was visibly upset during the trial, was referring to the victim as a Muslim and not as a terrorist.

Moore, a healthcare worker who was suspended from his role during the proceedings, denied the offence at a hearing on August 2, but changed his plea to guilty yesterday.

After the incident Moore “profusely apologised” to the victim’s father, Ms Threadkell added.

The shop assistant’s statement continued: “This incident has made me feel very insecure about who I am. It’s made me feel I am no longer safe not just in my workplace, but in the community. It’s made me feel like it’s going to go downhill from here.

“I’m fearful something more serious will happen and it makes me fearful for my life.

“I was born and raised in Ipswich, I know many people, but one comment has made me feel I am not part of my community anymore.”

Chairman of magistrates Jan Brennan said the incident happened as a result of a “misunderstanding on both sides”.

Moore was given a conditional discharge for six months, which means if he does not commit another crime within this time period he will not face any further action by the courts.

He was also asked to pay £50 to the victim for the distress caused to her, £20 victim surcharge and £50 towards court costs.