'I'm just shocked, I was born in this country' - Second shopper reports racist abuse at Stevenage Aldi store
PUBLISHED: 14:12 04 February 2017
A second case of racist abuse at a Stevenage supermarket has come to light just days after a Polish woman reported being sworn at and told to go back to her country by an aggressive shopper.
The mother-of-two – who wished only to be known as Marta – told the Comet how a man swore at her and her two children while they shopped in Stevenage’s Aldi on January 18, and told them to ‘just go back’ to their own country.
Marta captured part of the abuse on her mobile.
Darren Balaam – from York Road in Stevenage – has since been arrested and charged with causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm and distress.
But after reading the Comet story, Rose Herft –who was born in England and has Sri Lankan heritage – reported how she was sworn at, threatened and told to ‘go back to her country’ also while in Aldi.
Rose told the Comet how on January 5, her card was unexpectedly declined at the till and then a tall man in the queue behind her became abusive.
She said: “He started telling me to hurry up.
“Then a woman who was in a couple in front of him, said ‘Are you stupid? How come you don’t know that you don’t have any money?’
“An argument broke out she said ‘just go back to your own country’.
“Then the other man who was getting into a confrontation with the security guard turned to me and said: ‘I could just knock you out’.”
Rose and her husband were featured in the Comet last year when they told their story about how winning an IVF lottery allowed them to give birth to daughter, Mya-Rose.
Rose said the experience has left her shaken.
She said: “I was really insulted. I was born in this country and my father came over in the 1950s.
“I’m just shocked. It might be that with Donald Trump and Brexit happening people feel they can speak in this way but this isn’t the 1940s or 1950s.”
The Aldi staff escorted Rose to her car so she could get home safely. When Rose spoke to her Ghanian husband, they decided to report the incident to the police – who have been supporting Rose since.
Now she said she wants the abusive shoppers to be barred from Aldi so they can’t do the same thing to others and hopes people who witnessed the abuse will come forward.
She says the man who threatened to knock her out was in his 50s, slim, very tall and was wearing a grey jacket.
The woman was short with orange or reddish hair, and the older man with her had glasses and a moustache.
Herts Police is investigating the incident.