Mum’s sentence anger after baby suffers racist spit attack

Rebecca Telford and her daughter Layla-Jean
Rebecca Telford and her daughter Layla-Jean

The mother of a baby who was subjected to a racial assault says she’s stunned by the lenient sentence the attacker received,

The day after Rezzas Abdulla’s family told the Gazette they ‘were no racists’, Rebecca Telford said she holds no malice towards his family.

Abdulla was convicted of spitting on her daughter Layla-Jean – then just nine months old – while she was in her pram last January and shouting “white people shouldn’t breed”.

Rebecca says she is still puzzled as to how the 33-year-old from Imeary Street, South Shields, who was convicted of racially aggravated common assault – only received a an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 10 months – with rehabilitation and mental health treatment requirements.

This followed Mr Recorder Darren Preston, stating at Newcastle Crown Court that Abdulla ‘seems to have a problem with white women’.

It emerged he had two previous race-hate convictions on white women.

Rebecca, 25, from South Shields, said: “I would never judge an entire family by one person’s actions, so I am surprised the family needed to say they weren’t racist.

“However, I am shocked at the sentence Abdulla received and I am wondering what it will take before what I regard as a proper punishment was handed out.

“This is the third time now he’s been involved in racial incidents involving white females.”

She added: “I know he didn’t physically attack my daughter. He spat on her, but it’s still disgusting. Who would even do that to a baby? It’s just vile.

“I just worry that this will happen again and next time it may be something even worse.

“At least he is on the police’s radar now and people are aware.”

Rebecca says she has been inundated with messages of support from around the country since the court case was heard last week.

After the incident, which happened in Chichester Road, South Shields, Layla-Jean was taken to the doctor for tests,

Earlier this week, Abdullah’s younger brother Tarik Abdulla told the Gazette his family has been subjected to hatred and they now fear going outside. He also said that many people didn’t realise his sibling had mental health problems.

Rebecca says she still believes the punishment should have been harsher.

She said: “At the end of the day I never asked for any of this.

“I was walking to the shops and my baby and that man spat in my baby’s face.

“I just refuse to believe if I had racially attacked three people and been convicted, then I’d not be receiving this same punishment.”