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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Carlisle soldier who made sick comment about dead child grew up in 'racist family'

A soldier who admitted posting a disgusting racist comment on Facebook about a dead child had “grown up in a racist family”, a court heard.

Warren Butler photo
Warren Butler

It was also claimed that Grenadier Guardsman Warren Butler, 19, thought he would not get a shocked reaction in Carlisle, with a lawyer saying it gave “an idea of the extent of racism” in the city.

The claims came as Butler, of Ferguson Road, Longsowerby, Carlisle, avoided jail over the comment in relation to the death of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular in Scotland. He posted a message that included the phrase: “One down many more to go.”

Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court heard that as soon as Butler posted this message he and his family received death threats. Butler pleaded guilty to a charge of improper use of a communications network.

Serena Edwards, prosecuting, told the court that Butler, who is based at Aldershot, Hampshire, had drunk about 10 bottles of Stella lager alone while his friends were on guard duty when he wrote the comment. She said that after the comment went viral, Butler became concerned for the well-being of his family and contacted police.

Ms Edwards said that in interview, he told police he had attended EDL marches in the past and had a racist background.

She added that he also made comments about people of Eastern European backgrounds. Ms Edwards said: “He said that he is from a racist background but not actively racist, he stated that if he knew the consequences he wouldn’t have posted the comments.”

Fabienne Macey, defending, said that the defendant, who was wearing full ceremonial uniform in his profile picture, deleted the comment and his Facebook account after he realised the impact of it. She said: “He has grown up in a racist family, his father and grandfather were actively racist.

“He has been brought up not to like people of a different race and that is all he has known until being 19 years old and recently joining the Army. In the small community of Carlisle, if he was to make such a comment, he doesn’t think it would get the same reaction in that community, which gives an idea of the extent of the racism in that small community.”

Speaking in support of Butler, his platoon commander Captain James Stafford Allen said the defendant had spent the past eight weeks under curfew with limited contact with his colleagues and had been banned from accessing his mobile phone and the internet. He said: “Prior to this incident Butler did have a clean slate within the Army and was following a promising career as a guardsman.

“I have noticed him showing signs of remorse, he does truly regret what he has done.”

He said the Army would consider Butler’s position following the sentencing.

District Judge Philip Gillibrand said: “Those comments were in respect of a young child who had so tragically lost his life and in terms of the impact on the wider members of the family and also the impact it made across the nation – people were appalled at seeing this prejudice, completely unjustified, cruel and disrespectful.”

Butler was handed a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 250 hours of community service. He was also ordered to pay £85 court costs and an £80 victim surcharge and complete a 12-month supervision order, which would include diversity awareness and prejudice training as well as alcohol awareness.

Mikaeel’s body was discovered in woodland in Fife, Scotland, on January 17. He was reported missing from his home in the Drylaw area of Edinburgh. His mother, Rosdeep Kular, 33, has been charged with his murder.

Do you think that Carlisle is a racist city? Have you been the victim of racist abuse?

Have your say

@Mi

which values are these? Tolerance certainly appears to have been eroded in your case, is it that of which you speak?

Posted by Nick on 21 March 2014 at 16:48

Mi sums up some of the narrow mindedness in our city.

Posted by ian on 21 March 2014 at 15:01

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