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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Store cleaner accused of sending 500 anti-Scottish text messages to boss

A supermarket cleaner has appeared in court accused of bombarding his boss with more than 500 anti-Scottish text messages.

Michael Holden photo
Michael Holden

Michael Holden, 48, is also accused of sending racist messages to a Polish colleague, which included the notorious Nazi slogan “work makes you free”, which stood above the entrance of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

Holden, of Main Street, Brampton, appeared briefly before magistrates in Carlisle, speaking only to confirm his name, age and address.

Prosecutor Diane Jackson told the court that Holden faces four charges of racially aggravated harassment, all allegedly committed during March.

Mrs Jackson outlined the prosecution case, saying that Holden was accused of sending the 500 plus abusive text messages to his line manager Kenneth McMillan at the Asda store in Carlisle.

He sent a large number of messages with offensive anti-Scottish content, targeting Mr McMillan with the texts between March 25 and 29, say the prosecution.

The other two harassment charges relate to text messages Holden allegedly sent to his fellow cleaner Ewa Wismiewski in March this year.

The prosecution say he sent her “up to 300” offensive texts every day, many late at night or in the early hours. Some allegedly contained the chilling Nazi concentration camp slogan.

Mrs Jackson said prosecutors also allege that Holden got the woman’s number from his manager’s office.

In each of the four allegations, according to the charges, Holden knew or ought to have known that the content of his messages amounted to harassment, and in each case the offence was racially aggravated.

Holden entered no pleas.

Magistrates agreed that the case should be dealt with by a judge at Carlisle Crown Court and sent the case there for a plea and case management hearing on June 12.

Holden was granted unconditional bail until the day of that hearing.

Background reports will be prepared on him in advance of the hearing.

The German phrase “Arbeit macht frei” – translated as works makes you free – was the notorious slogan emblazoned above the entrance to Nazi German run Auschwitz in occupied Poland and was the first thing prisoners saw as they arrived at the concentration camp.

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