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Widower's racist rant after school child gave bus seat to Asian man instead of him

A widower went on a racist rant after a school child gave up his seat on a bus to an Asian man instead of him, a court heard.


Dudley magistrates were told how 65-year-old Robert Payne from Wickham Square, West Bromwich boarded a bus in the town which was full of school children, and took exception to them letting another elderly man sit down.

Prosecutor Val Hart said that Payne was heard saying to another passenger, referring to a school teacher accompanying the pupils, 'she moved that brown kid for that brown man'.

Outlining the incident, Mrs Hart said: "At 9.45am on February 18, members of staff and 25 children were going on a trip to the Odeon cinema. They had got on the number 46 bus at New Square in West Bromwich.

"Ten minutes into the journey, the defendant got on, and then an Asian man who had a walking stick. Staff asked one of their children to vacate their seat for the unknown Asian man, who was described as elderly and infirm."

It was at this point that Payne, who remained standing, was heard to start making racist comments.

"The defendant was asked to refrain from making abusive comments. He was said to have been ranting, saying 'a f*****g brown kid'. Challenged by the staff, he said 'shut up, f*** off and p*** off'. The children were visibly shaken," said Mrs Hart.

During his police interview Payne had admitted that he was 'bitter' at not being given a seat himself, but claimed that he couldn't remember exactly what he had said during the journey.

Payne had been found guilty of the racially aggravated public order offence, causing harassment, alarm or distress, after a trial in his absence on October 12.

However his defence solicitor, Milo Turner, explained that his client had missed the hearing because he was in hospital following a triple heart bypass.

Mr Turner added that Payne lived alone following the death of his wife, and it was her grave he was visiting on the day of the offence.

"He was attending, as he does every morning, his wife's grave at All Saints Church in West Bromwich. He got on a single decker bus where there was a number of school children with their teachers. They took all of the seats.

"He was left standing, and he wasn't in a well condition."

On seeing the other elderly man get a seat, Mr Payne 'took exception to that', said Mr Turner. He continued: "The teacher decided to get involved and words were said thereafter."

Magistrates fined Payne £180, increased from £120 due to the racial element of the offence. He must also pay a contribution to court costs of £310, and a victim surcharge of £30.

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