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'Food fight' involving 20 men began after racial abuse claim

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A RACIALLY abused shopper threw eggs at a butcher, sparking a mass street brawl.

Calvin Fairweather, 48, pleaded guilty to affray over the incident at J and J Halal Butcher, in High Street, Thornton Heath, in the afternoon of June 2 last year.

The spat inside the shop sparked a street brawl, involving up to 20 people and ending in one man losing two fingers.

Fairweather, who appeared at Croydon Crown Court on Wednesday, will be sentenced on May 8. He is the only person charged in connection with the incident.

His lawyer, Robert Newcombe, said his client apologised for his lack of restraint after being insulted inside the shop.

He said: "He accepts that he should have exercised restraint.

"He was told to move aside and sworn at by being called a 'black b*****d', and asked the man to repeat what he said and it was repeated.

"My client, in giving instructions to me, said that the Asian man should have known better than to give racial abuse, living in the UK, and that it was something that affected him, causing him to tip over the eggs and hurl eggs across the counter."

Mr Newcombe added his client's wife normally went to that butcher but did not that day due to an operation.

He said: "The series of events that unfolded were certainly unfortunate."

Judge Jeremy Gold QC delayed the sentencing for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

He said: "[I] want to investigate whether there may be appropriate penalties that might address the difficulties that he might have in keeping his temper."

Fairweather has been released on bail, awaiting sentencing, and is not allowed to enter J and J Halal Butcher in the meantime.

He was told it was unlikely he would face an immediate custodial sentence.

The brawl sparked by the argument inside the shop was witnessed by passengers on a number 50 bus.

A witness, who saw the fight from the top deck, told the Advertiser at the time: "We saw these men running around with vegetables. It looked like a mini-riot.

"It was hard to tell who was hitting who at the time, but at least one man was down on the ground getting attacked."

There were also witness reports at the time of a man wielding a machete, but this was not mentioned in court.

Mr Fairweather had been due to face trial on two counts of malicious wounding. However, prosecutor Emma Smith said the prosecution could offer no evidence on those counts.

The charge of affray was added on Wednesday.

'Food fight' involving 20 men began after racial abuse claim


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