Care assistant jailed for punching Muslim woman and ripping off her hijab in racist attack

Ellie Burns was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court to 20 months in prison (Pictures: West Yorkshire Police/PA)

A former care assistant has been jailed for 20 months after she punched a Muslim woman and pulled off her hijab in a racist attack.

Ellie Burns, 21, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, attacked two female shoppers on April 29 after they complained she was singing a racist song.

Burns spat at the first woman and pulled her hair, then punched her and pulled off her hijab at Kirkdale Market in Bradford.

She slapped the second victim and pushed her over, Bradford Crown Court heard this week.

Prosecutor Giles Bridge said both women were left deeply distressed by the incident.

Burns then assaulted a police officer called to the scene by scratching and nipping him.

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Burns committed the offences 25 days after receiving a suspended prison sentence for vodka and cocaine-fuelled attacks on a taxi driver and five police officers.

Burns pleaded guilty to two offences of racially aggravated common assault and for assaulting a police officer.

On April 4, she had been sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, for a racially aggravated assault on a taxi driver, racially aggravated harassment, theft and assaulting five police officers, in April and January last year.

Racist taxi attack

The court heard Burns had hurled racist abuse at the taxi driver and punched him in the face, causing bruising and a cut to his eye.

When the police arrived, she struggled during arrest causing a cut to an officer’s finger. Back at the station, the officer was kicked and spat at, and Burns threatened to bite his nose.

Ellie Burns punched a woman and pulled off her hijab (Picture: West Yorkshire Police)

Her barrister, Camille Morland, conceded she was not suffering from a mental illness but said that she had suffered serious emotional trauma.

She was left with issues of substance misuse and aggression following an abusive relationship when she was introduced to Class A drugs and alcohol.

“Life hasn’t been easy for you”

Burns had conducted herself well in her role as a care assistant, dealing capably with very challenging situations, the court was told.

“When sober and calm, she is insightful and thoughtful - when she is intoxicated, it is another story,” Ms Morland said.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, told Burns: “Life hasn’t been at all easy for you.”

But she had breached the suspended sentence order “conclusively, in a very effective way”.

He asked: “How can I overlook a flagrant breach of a suspended sentence?”

He activated ten months of the suspended sentence and jailed Burns for a total of ten months for the new offences, the sentences to run consecutively.

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