Man who deliberately mowed people down in car near Muslim centre jailed for five years

Jon Sharman
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Man who deliberately mowed people down in car near Muslim centre jailed for five years

A man who deliberately drove a car into a group of pedestrians outside a Muslim community centre has been jailed for five years.

Martin Stokes, 25, injured three people when he hurled “racist and anti-Islamic taunts” while he veered into the group outside the Hussaini Association hall in Cricklewood, northwest London, last September.

One man, in his 50s, sustained a serious leg and hip injury that kept him in hospital for nearly a month, the Metropolitan Police said.

Harrow Crown Court was told how at about 12.30am on 19 September Stokes and others were smoking and drinking inside a car parked in a lot close to the community centre.

Stewards for a private event being held there asked them to move on.

But in response “Stokes shouted racist abuse and then deliberately drove his car into a group of people who were leaving the community centre” before speeding away, the Met said.

He was arrested on 23 October following an investigation by Brent police.

On Wednesday he was jailed for five years and banned from driving for seven and a half years.

Stokes, of Lynton Close in Wembley, had admitted dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and a religiously aggravated offence.

Mohammed Al Bayati, from the Al Hussaini Association, said: “Our members were subject to racist and anti-Islamic taunts followed by a violent attack in which a vehicle was deliberately driven onto the pavement and aimed at the crowd of worshippers leaving the mosque.

“The attack, against men, women and children and which resulted in serious injuries to the victims, took place at night during Muharram, a sacred month of the Islamic calendar.”

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