Ex-soldier in court over anti-Muslim Facebook rants

EDL SUPPORTER ... Kenneth Holden outside court.
EDL SUPPORTER ... Kenneth Holden outside court.

A FORMER soldier wrote anti-Islamic comments on his Facebook page he started supporting the English Defence League (EDL).

Kenneth Holden, 30, was arrested after police were alerted to two updates he posted on his personal page on the social network site, abusing Muslims.

Holden, of Winskell Road, South Shields, pleaded guilty to two counts of sending an offensive message by a public communication network at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

He also admitted causing criminal damage to his grandfather’s home in a separate incident.

Claire Wright, prosecuting, said: “On April 21, the two messages were brought to the attention of the police.

“Officers searched Facebook and found the defendant’s page and saw the religiously abusive comments.

“He was arrested, and asked the police if it was because he didn’t like Muslims.

“In a second police interview, he posted the comments on his page and accepted that they could be seen as offensive to Muslims.”

The criminal damage case goes back to June 28 when he was found by police in his grandfather’s home.

The court heard his grandfather was ill in hospital at the time, and Holden’s uncle had changed the locks to the house.

When he went round to the house, he couldn’t get in, so he broke in through the back door.

Kevin Smallcombe, defending, said: “He was in the Army, and has some fairly strong views about Muslims.

“He supports some of the beliefs of the English Defence League and believes that the group was started after some Muslims spat on soldiers who were returning from Afghanistan.

“The comments on Facebook were of a religious nature. Some people say it is part of free speech, but by his guilty plea Mr Holden accepts he crossed the line.

“Most of our country has fair and tolerant views but some are extremists, on both sides of this argument.”

Mr Smallcombe added that while Holden supports the EDL, these posts were not in any way to do with the group.

With regards to the criminal damage, the court heard it was a family dispute and Holden was at his grandfather’s home to change the locks again.

Magistrates adjourned the case until Monday for the probation service to prepare a report about him. He was granted bail until then.

Twitter: @shieldsgazcrime