Muswell Hill teenager set Jewish man’s hair on fire in antisemitic attack

Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, where the defendants faced charge. Picture: Archant

Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, where the defendants faced charge. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A teenager set a Jewish man’s hair on fire and used racist language in an antisemitic attack on a bus.

The Muswell Hill boy, who was 14 at the time, boarded the top deck of the 210 bus with another male on March 26 2018, shortly before 7pm.

From the seat behind he singed the victim's hair and said: "You can't be Jewish because you don't have horns."

The victim was sandwiched between the pair and the teenager threatened to beat him up and smash the laptop on which he was working.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at Highbury Corner Youth Court on Thursday, January 16 after pleading guilty to racially and religiously aggravated common assault.

Prosecutor Beata Murphy said: "The defendant said: 'Are you a P**i or a Jew?'

"The defendant then sat behind the complainant and the other male opposite him.

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"The complainant then heard a crackling sound and realised that it was his hair (on fire). He turned around and said: 'What are you doing?'

"The defendant then said: 'Are you Jewish? You can't be Jewish because you don't have horns. Do Jews keep money under their caps?'"

In addition to a four-month youth rehabilitation order, the attacker was told to write a letter of apology to the victim and pay him £100 in compensation.

The 16-year-old was given an activity requirement of eight hours and will work with educational staff in one-to-one behavioural sessions to combat racial discrimination.

Speaking in the youth court, the teenager expressed remorse for the attack, saying he had changed and grown as a person since the incident, and that now, having moved house and made new friends, he was focused on his GCSEs so that he could get into college.

Chair of the bench Adrian Gifford said: "We do feel that setting somebody's hair on fire and the things that you said were very serious indeed.

"The racial uplift on this will be an additional month from the recommendation in the pre-sentence report of three months, so going up to four months."

Mr Gifford added: "You have made a good start by what you said in court today, and we are remembering the underlying reason behind the youth court, and that is to prevent you reoffending, and also your welfare."