A BRAINTREE man has been jailed for a total of nine months after admitting to carrying out an attack at a mosque and threatening to kill the only occupant.
Geoffrey Ryan, 44, of Brick Kiln Way, threw a smoke grenade through the window of the Al Falah mosque in Silks Way, Braintree and shouted threats whilst brandishing two kitchen knives, Chelmsford Crown Court heard yesterday.
The incident happened at 7pm on May 22, shortly after the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby on the streets of Woolwich.
Ryan admitted two counts of possessing a knife, one count of affray and one count of possessing and threatening unlawful violence.
The court heard how Ryan had gone to the prayer centre armed with two knives and a yellow smoke grenade – which was hurled through a downstairs window.
Saruk Miah, 46, a delivery driver from Braintree, was the only person in the building at the time and was upstairs preparing a snack before evening prayer.
When he heard the explosion, followed by shouting from Ryan, Mr Miah managed to climb out onto the flat roof of the prayer centre to call police.
At this point Ryan swore in his direction, and shouted: "I'm going to kill you. Let's see if Allah or God come to help you."
Whilst brandishing the knives, Ryan then shouted: "I'll kill you Muslims, I'll kill you before the police come, come downstairs, come out I'm going to cut your throat."
When officers arrived Ryan refused to drop his weapons and police had to use batons to subdue him, leaving him with a broken arm according to his defence lawyer.
Defending, Steven Levy said: "He has been out of trouble since 2000. These offences were committed a week to the day after his brother took his own life.
Sentencing, Judge Goldstaub said: "It was an attack that was both racial and religiously motivated and it's the kind of thing that won't be tolerated in this country, which is a tolerant country that deals with matters through the judicial process and not people taking the law into their own hands."
Ryan was sentenced to nine months for both offences, to be served concurrently, with the three months already spent in custody to be deducted.