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Woman convicted of hate crime

News   •   Feb 02, 2018 13:13 GMT

[Convicted: Cheryl McKeown]

A woman who racially harassed her neighbour for over a year has been sentenced to 26 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Cheryl McKeown, 32 (10.02.85) of Imre Close, Shepherds Bush, was convicted at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday, 12 January of committing a hate crime.

She was sentenced at the same court on Wednesday, 31 January.

She was also given a restraining order banning her from contacting the victim and her family; not to go to the house of the victim; not to contact anyone entering or leaving the house of the victim, and not to contact directly or indirectly any witness in relation to this case.

The judge handed the suspect a six-month curfew, to wear a tag and remain at home between 21:00 and 05:00hrs and attend a 30-day rehab requirement.

The court heard how over a 17-month period, McKeown repeatedly racially harassed her neighbour and her five children by racially abusing them, threatening them and vandalising property.

Police were first called in the summer of 2016 over a dispute about leaving rubbish outside their house. An argument ensued before McKeown started threatening the victim.

Over the course of the 17-month period of harassment, McKeown continued to verbally abuse the family; making comments such as "What has England become?", "Take your children back to where they belong" and "This is becoming an Islamic estate - you need to get your children out of this country."

She also harassed the family by constantly filming them and their friends entering and leaving the property.

In March, 2017, the victim was returning home after taking her older children to school. She had her two young babies to bring into the house, so went to get one baby out of the car. McKeown was stood at her front door filming her on her mobile phone and smoking what was believed to be cannabis.

McKeown blew smoke into the face of the victim and her youngest child.

About half an hour after getting into the house, the baby McKeown had blown smoke at had a nosebleed. This resulted in the child needing medical attention.

The officer in charge, and one of the Met's Dedicated Ward Officers, PC Tom Cooke, said: "This was a prolonged, and psychological assault, which took place over 17 months, on a family who just wanted to live a peaceful life. At no point did they lower themselves to McKeown's level.

"The Met will never tolerate anyone being threatened or tormented in their own home. Racially aggravated harassment is a serious crime and yesterday's sentencing has shown that it is high on our agenda.

"I am especially proud of the work the team and I have carried out to help this victim's family. We have liaised with local authorities, housing associations and the local community to gather information that helped bring Cheryl McKeown to justice."

Police Sergeant James Burgess, added: "Through numerous emails and phone calls PC Cooke managed to get CCTV installed and implemented other Safeguarding measures to support the victim, some of which are still in place. PC Cooke now has a better understanding of the intricate needs of those that require Safeguarding and has used his experience to pass on to other officers within the safer neighbourhoods as best practice.

"PC Tom Cooke clearly demonstrated his professionalism, confidence and determination to bring this suspect to court and provide that the victim was given the upmost care in the most difficult of circumstances. He represents everything that the Metropolitan Police Service stands for."