Victim of vile racist abuse in Hitchin bravely speaks out: ‘I pity man convicted’

Tony Williams

Tony Williams - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin man who recorded racial abuse inflicted by his neighbour has bravely spoken out after the man pleaded guilty.

Stuart Harrold, 51, from Common Rise, Hitchin, pleaded guilty at St Albans Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday to using racially aggravated words against Tony Williams and was ordered to pay a total of £785.

The plea came after Mr Williams, also from Common Rise, visited Harrold’s house at around 11.15pm on Friday, June 10, to politely ask him to turn down his music during a family gathering in which children were present.

However, once Mr Williams had left, Harrold began a torrent of racist abuse aimed at the marketing accounts manager which Mr Williams heard and recorded on his iPhone in his nearby garden, prompting him to call the police.

Family man Mr Williams, dad to an 18-month-old daughter and step-father to three children, had been at an end of season girls football team awards in his position as coach, before returning home.

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The 37-year-old said: “Our babysitter told me there was loud music coming from a nearby house. As it was still only 9pm I said: ‘You can’t stop people having a bit of fun’. But by 11.15pm the music was still just as loud. Loud reggae was playing which is quite ironic given what happened.

“I went round and politely asked him to turn it down as I had four young children trying to sleep. He was stocky, shaven headed and quite aggressive. I felt a bit intimidated. He said: ‘Whatever’ and shut the door.

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“I went back to my garden and heard him shout: ‘F****** n***** c***. F****** n***** c*** coming round here. Who does he think he is?’ It was when he made threats to fight me I called the police. “

Mr Williams added: “My dad’s from Grenada and my mum’s from India. I’m proud to be black and British.

“Hitchin’s a great place but you don’t expect people to be racially abused in the 21st century. I pity him. It’s doesn’t matter if he was drunk, racial abuse in any form is simply unacceptable. I feel sorry for children having to experience that. I hope he learns from this and understands racism is unacceptable.

“Maybe the Brexit campaign influenced his behaviour. Anecdotally I’ve heard more people being racially abused after the vote.

“The situation is just depressing – but one positive has been the fact the police acted on my concerns straightaway.

“The police were brilliant. I just want to thank them for their professionalism and help.

“The way they responded to the racism has really encouraged me in terms of how they deal with racial complaints. I can’t fault them including PC Hugh Roper from Hitchin police station, who was a real help.”

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