A MAN WHO attacked a pregnant woman in a supermarket car park last August, kicking her in the stomach and hitting her husband with a wine bottle, has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison after he admitted racially-aggravated assault.
Samsam Haji-Ali, who is of Somali heritage, visited a Co-op store in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, last August, with her husband Abdullah Sulamain. There was a row inside the store, when David Gallagher accused the couple of queue-jumping.
Afterwards, in the car park, Gallagher began abusing the couple. He used highly insulting racist language, saying “you fucking people, you are the fucking problem in this place” as well as other racist insults.
Gallagher then began kicking Ms Haji-Ali in the stomach. She shouted at him that she was pregnant, but he continued – before hitting Mr Sulamain in the head with a bottle of wine and causing a cut which needed four stitches. A few days later, Ms Haji-Ali miscarried the twins she had been expecting.
Fortunately Judge Francis Sheridan did not mince his words when it came to passing sentence. He made it clear that Gallagher had a racist motive for the attack and said that the insults he had used made him a “shabby racist” – a “thug and a racist”. He continued, “It is time you learnt that your vile conduct and abhorrent views are a thing of the past. This country will not bow to the views of racists, because decent society demands that intolerance is shown to all racists of any sort, however they chose to express their hatred of others, or dislike of others, and the abuse that goes with it.”
The Judge pointed out that the attack had left Ms Haji-Ali in “agony” and he believed the attack had caused the miscarriage. He decided not to award her compensation because he could not put a price on the loss she had suffered. Ms Haji-Ali would be able to make a claim for compensation against Gallagher under civil law. When he appeared in court, Gallaher declared that he had no fixed address, so it is not likely that he would be able to pay any compensation, even if ordered to do so. However, it is likely that Ms Haji-Ali would have grounds to make a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
When police approached him, Gallagher resisted arrest. He was aggressive and spat at police officers and tried to bite them, claiming he was suffering from Hepatitis B. The officers overcame the resistance and took him into custody. Gallagher then told police that he could not be a racist because he had “taught himself Muslim” and had spoken to members of the Muslim community in the past, without incident.
When he appeared in court, Gallagher admitted two counts of racially aggravated assault occasioning actual bodily harm, for which he received a sentence of three years and seven months in prison. He also admitted three counts of assaulting a police officer during the arrest process – for which he was sentenced to a further four months in prison. Gallagher is expected to serve just under two years in prison, after which he is likely to be released on licence.
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To their credit, the outcome of this case has been reported in the Daily Mail online. Perhaps it is because they are not accustomed to reporting racist attacks that the Mail has invented the crime of “racially aggregated attack” rather than the “racially aggravated attack” which is on the statute book and of which Gallagher was convicted.