Man who spat in baby's face during racial attack is spared jail

Rezzas Abdulla appeared at Newcastle Crown Court
Rezzas Abdulla appeared at Newcastle Crown Court

An attacker spat into a baby's face and shouted "white people shouldn't breed" in a sickening race-hate assault in South Tyneside.

Rezzas Abdulla was spared prison after leaving the little girl, - aged just nine months - in her pushchair, covered in saliva after the shocking afternoon street attack in South Shields.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the attack happened last January as the baby's mum, hairdresser Rebecca Telford, 25, was out walking with the tot at Chichester Road and that Abdulla, 33, approached without warning.

Emma Dowling, prosecuting, told the court: "He lent into the pushchair and spat into the face of her daughter.

"As he did so, he shouted or said 'white people shouldn't breed' then walked off."

The court heard when the baby's stunned mother confronted Abdulla, who swore at her and walk off.

Miss Dowling told the court the spit was "sprayed around" the baby's face,and a shocked passer by gave her a tissue to clean up.

The sickened mum tried to take a photograph of her baby's attacker as he walked away but was too shaken by what had happened.

Abdulla, who the judge said has two previous convictions for race-hate attacks on white females, was later tracked down through CCTV.

Abdulla, of Imeary Street, South Shields, was convicted of racially aggravated common assault after a trial at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court, - which he did not attend.

in a victim impact statement Ms Telford said: "I am completely disgusted and distressed that a grown man, regardless of race or religion, would spit on a defenceless baby in a completely unprovoked attack.

"If he had just walked by I would not have even noticed him, there was no eye contact and no words had been exchanged. I had never seen him before."

The court heard the baby was taken to the doctor after the attack for tests.

Ms Telford added: "I believe he spat on her purely because we are white. I was a lone female and an easy target."

Mr recorder Darren Preston told Abdulla: "There is something viscerally horrible and disgusting about spitting at someone, particularly in the face and to do so to a baby was particularly disgusting, let alone to make things even worse when your motivation for doing so is racial hatred."

The judge referred to Abdulla's previous convictions and told him: "You have got a problem, it seems to me, with white women."

The court heard after the attack last January, Abdulla spent time, between July and September, receiving psychiatric treatment in hospital, which has continued after his release into the community.

The judge said Abdulla's deteriorating mental health at the time of the attack "contributed" towards the offence.

Abdulla was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with rehabilitation and mental health treatment requirements.

The judge said "society in general" would be better served by Abdulla being allowed to continue his psychiatric treatment programme.

Vic Laffey, defending, said medical evidence shows Abdulla's mental health was deteriorating in the six months leading to his hospital admission with schizophrenia last summer.

He no receives anti-psychotic treatment in the community.

Mr Laffey said: "This suggests he was ill, or becoming ill, at the time this offence was committed.

"He is clearly vulnerable himself, he has significant support from his family and is making progress."

Victim tell of horror at attack

After the case, Ms Telford said: "South Shields is really multicultural, and I have never witnessed anything like this before. I am glad he has been brought to justice, but I think he has got off lightly.

"I am not racist at all but I honestly think if it was the other way round and I had been abusive towards him, then I would have been treated differently.

"I was just out shopping and saw a man walking in the opposite direction. As he passed, he stopped, leaned into the pram, spat on Layla-Jean, and said, 'White people
should not breed'.

"It was horrendous, I was just so shocked. It was the racism that disgusted me. I started yelling at him and he just walked away.

"Layla Jean was just nine months old. She did not have a clue what was going on, but she was still distressed.

"I phoned the doctor and I was told that Layla-Jean might need to have a BCG injection, in case she had contracted TB. Luckily, it wasn't necessary but it put me through a lot of worry and stress.

"I wasn't sure if the police would take what had happened seriously, because it wasn't physically violent, but they were fantastic.

"I must stress I'm not trying to instigate any hate against Muslims or the Islamic community. This was obviously a isolated attack by one man, not the entire religion."