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Racial abuse led to Bideford Subway assault, court hears

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: August 29, 2014

Exeter Crown Court

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A window fitter attacked a neighbour in a sandwich bar over a long running feud about alleged racist slurs.

Diamantino Pedro confronted victim Ben Chance in the Subway shop in Bideford because he believed his family had subjected him to months of racial abuse.

The 27-year-old threw a single punch which glanced off Mr Chance’s head and left a red mark before he was pulled away from the scuffle by a friend.

Pedro was already subject to a suspended sentence for an unrelated incident in which he lashed out with a belt in a street brawl outside Crabby Dicks pub last year.

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He escaped jail after a judge at Exeter Crown Court was told that the latest assault was the result of months of racial intimidation from Chance which forced Pedro to leave his partner and two children to escape.

Pedro, of Brecon Close, Bideford, admitted battery and was ordered to do 100 hours unpaid community work and pay a £60 victim surcharge.

Judge Geoffrey Mercer, QC, decided not to activate the suspended sentence and warned him this was his last chance.

He said: "You could not complain if you were sent to prison today but I take into account what I have been told about the background and I am prepared to give you one more chance.

“If this happens again, you must walk away from any situation. I am sure that knowing about the situation, the police will monitor it.”

Piers Norsworthy, for the prosecution, said Pedro went into the Subway shop in Bideford to confront Ben Chance on the evening of April 19 and tried to provoke a fight.

He said: "Pedro told him ‘I’m going to get you, you think you are a big man’. Mr Chance got out his phone to call the police and Pedro tried to knock it out of his hand.

“Another man who was there tried to get him away but he threw a single punch which caught him on the left side of his forehead and left a small red mark.”

Emily Pitts, for the defence, said Pedro came to Britain when he was a child and has experienced racial harassment from the Chance family while living with his partner and their two children opposite them in Stella Maris Court in Bideford.

She said: "He had his partner have been subjected to a barrage of racist abuse and there has been a history of antagonism. It has led to him moving to another address in Bideford and being apart from his family.

“He wants to move to Barnstaple or Exeter to get further away from it but his partner does not want to leave Bideford.”

She said he has work as a solar panel fitter and would lose his job and links to the community if sent straight to jail.

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