An elderly Asian lady was shocked and distressed when she was subjected to racial abuse by yobs who hurled snowballs at her Solihull home and her family.
Reece Hipwood, Benjamin Gumbley, Jake Neary, Ben Bayliss and a 17-year-old whose case has been remitted to Solihull Youth Court, had all pleaded guilty to causing harassment, alarm or distress to Harchan Ranjit Kaur.
Pleas of not guilty to a more serious charge of racially aggravated harassment had been accepted at an earlier hearing – despite racist words being used during the incident.
Hipwood, 20, of Bellamy Farm Road, Solihull, and Bayliss, 18, of Hollington Way, Solihull, were both given community sentences with 12 months supervision and were ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work.
They and Gumbley, 17, of Shakespeare Road, Solihull, who was given a youth rehabilitation order with six months supervision and ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work, were ordered to pay £125 compensation each to Mrs Kaur.
Neary, 17, of Valsheda Road, Solihull, was given a youth rehabilitation order with six months supervision and 24 hours of reparation.
Prosecutor Iain Willis said the incident had been perceived by Mrs Kaur and her family as a racially aggravated offence – and the defendants accepted such words were used.
Mrs Kaur and her family live in Marshall Lake Road, Shirley, where, in October last year, the youths had been having a snowball fight. One of them went to the house and rang the bell, and when Mrs Kaur opened the door she was faced by the five of them and another youth shouting racial abuse behind the wall at the end of the drive and throwing snowballs at her.
When her sons came out they chased the youths away, during which more snowballs were thrown and further racial abuse shouted.
When the police arrived Gumbley, Bayliss and the fifth youth were pointed out, and after their arrest Gumbley implicated Hipwood and Neary.
Hipwood claimed they had been throwing snowballs and that a stray one had hit the house, but he denied anyone had rung the doorbell and blamed Gumbley for the racial abuse, as did Neary, although Gumbley blamed Hipwood for it.
Bayliss and the fifth youth also accepted someone had shouted racist abuse, but said it was not them.
Mr Willis said Mrs Kaur, who was described by one defence barrister as being ‘an elderly lady who was frail and defenceless,’ has lived in this country for 40 years and says it was the first time she has been subjected to racist abuse.
Judge Christopher Hodson told the defendants: “Any right-thinking member of society, any sensible individual, would be appalled to hear of your behaviour.
“I am surprised you are not in the dock facing the more serious allegation.”