Socialist Worker

Rotherham 12 - prosecution witness seen with men giving Nazi salutes, court hears

by Phil Turner
Issue No. 2525

People at the Barnsley Festival of Labour History support the Rotherham 12

People at the Barnsley Festival of Labour History support the Rotherham 12 (Pic: Dave Gibson)

A prosecution witness in the Rotherham 12 trial was pictured alongside a group of men giving Nazi salutes.

The photograph of Leanne Allott next to her former boyfriend and other men who were sieg heiling was revealed by defence lawyers.

She told Michael Mansfield QC during cross examination that it was "just for fun" and did not mean anything.

A group of Asian men, known as the Rotherham 12 are on trial at Sheffield Crown Court. They were charged with violent disorder following a counter protest against a Nazi Britain First march in September last year. It followed the racist murder of a grandfather.

The court has heard that a group of drunken fascists stood outside the William Fry pub being racially abusive and threatening violence.

Allott told the jury she had gone to the pub to take her young daughter to meet her father. She said the father was staying there as he was a friend of the man running the pub.

Allott said there was lots of shouting and from a window she saw wood and stones being thrown towards the pub by Asian men outside chanting, "Whose streets? Our streets."

About ten men were outside the pub swearing but she claimed she never heard any racist abuse.

When cross examined, she said she did not know anything about the right wing views of the men in the pub. They included her daughter's father who was arrested on the day. She said she did not know where he had been beforehand and nothing was said about the Britain First march.

She agreed she dragged him back inside the pub while her daughter was upstairs.

After being shown pictures of the Britain First demonstration she accepted her boyfriend and the other men attended. She said she did not know they were associated with right wing groups and had never heard of a Nazi group called Yorkshire's Finest. She said she did not know of the pub's right wing reputation.

She did agree the pub was frequented by football fans called Rotherham United "crew" or infidels or casuals, known for violent behaviour.

Allott said tattoos on her arm referred to the name of her boyfriend or Rotherham United FC.

Mansfield provided the jury with defence documents containing information on some of the men inside the pub. She denied trying to protect their identities. Some of them were later arrested and charged with violent disorder.

Eight men, mostly from towns outside Rotherham including Halifax and Huddersfield, face trial later this year.


Allott said she knew one of the men but not the others. Photographs showed her drinking with them inside the pub shortly before violence started after racist abuse led to an attack on Asian demonstrators.

She denied giving evidence to support the father of her daughter and other men who she knew had a reputation for right wing activities.

She said she liked Asian people and did not support right wing views. She said she didn't know if Nazi salutes would be offensive to Jewish people.

An earlier prosecution witness, Jason Mercer, said he and counter-demonstrators were forced by police to disperse onto Wellgate past the William Fry pub. Men outside the bar were shouting racist abuse such as, "Why don't you fuck off home and go and fuck little girls you Paki bastards."

The racist abuse was first directed at a group of Asian boys aged 11-12 years old stood opposite the pub. Mercer said he feared for their safety. He saw one man do a "big man" walk before throwing a bottle which hit the side of a building. Then about ten men started throwing pint beer glasses into the crowd.

Mercer said he tried to alert police, who were some distance away. "I ran down Wellgate to get police attention because it had potential to turn really nasty," he said. "I was shouting and waving at them and they did not move.

“They stood on the corner and looked at me. It got louder and louder behind me and more aggressive and then the police started running down the street."

Mercer was able to take pictures on his mobile because the men thought he was one of them as he was white. He later moved away because he was threatened.

He said he was trying to get back to meet his wife and mother in law who had earlier left the counter protest because of the way it was being policed.

He was threatened by one man who he thought might have a knife because of the reputation of the pub. Asked what he thought of Britain First and Yorkshire’s Finest, he replied: "They're a bunch of right wing idiots."

Another witness, Adil Hussain, said he was leaving the counter-protest along Wellgate when men outside the pub shouted racist abuse. He said they threw bottles at an Asian group, who were trying to defend people from attack.

The trial continues.


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