A CHILD refugee from Ukraine was told to 'get out of my country' by a south Cumbrian man during a row over another youth pushing the swing she sat on, a court heard.

Thirty-three-year-old Barrow man Christopher Collinge committed the offence at a play park in Kendal when he yelled at the child and referred to her as a 'little immigrant,' Carlisle Crown Court was told.

The defendant, of Cross Street, Barrow, admitting using racially aggravated threatening behaviour.

Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson summarised the facts.

He said the dispute flared up on May 15 last year when the teenager, who had fled from the war in Ukraine with her family, was sitting on a swing in a Kendal play park.

She was approached by another child, who against the girl’s wishes, pushed the swing she was sitting on, prompting her to swear, he said. The mother of the boy then got involved and there was an 'altercation', the court heard.

“This defendant, Mr Collinge, then came over and became involved in the altercation,” said Mr Rogerson. During this, the Ukrainian teenager began recording the defendant’s actions and a video clip shown in court showed him yelling at her.

He told her to go back to her home country 'because she wasn’t wanted here', said Mr Rogerson. “There were references to her being a ‘little immigrant.’”

The lawyer then read the girl’s impact statement to the court.

“She said the incident left her shocked and upset. She said: ‘This has left me scared to leave the house and worried about going to the shop, or walking the dog….

“I feel that I was approached because I am not from England. I want to feel safe where I live. I didn’t feel safe in my own country because of the war. I came to England to feel safe, but I don’t feel safe now due to this incident.”

Charles Brown, defending, said it was accepted that while the defendant’s behaviour was 'not good' it was nothing like as bad as that of his co-defendant, a mother who was at the play park that day and who was 'more heavily involved.'

She was fined £150 by magistrates, said the barrister. The defendant suffered from anxiety and depression, the court heard.

Judge Michael Fanning told the defendant: “You have admitted using the phrase ‘Get out of my county – you can’t stay here’ and you referred to the… girl as a ‘little immigrant.’ That is how you described her to the police.”

The judge accepted the incident was not caused by Collinge and that the girl had sworn at the child who pushed her swing.

He noted that the defendant’s criminal record consisted of 94 previous offences dating back to 2005 and they included a previously racially aggravated offence.

The judge added: “You must appreciate that you can’t speak to people like that.

"We don’t live in a very diverse part of the UK but ordinarily the people of Cumbria are generally pretty welcoming to people from overseas – far more welcoming than in London…You have let yourself down and you have let Cumbria down.

“You have caused hurt to this girl… She needs care and support. You failed to do that.”

Judge Fanning imposed a 12-month community order, with 10 rehabilitation activity days and a six-month mental health treatment requirement.

The judge also urged the defendant to cease using cannabis, saying this was not going to help Collinge maintain good mental health.