The ‘Lion of London Bridge’ who was hailed for fight off knife-wielding terrorists during the London Bridge attack has been spared jail for a racist rant at a Labour MP’s office.
Roy Larner, 48, was repeatedly stabbed as he fought with Islamic terrorists who killed eight and injured 48 others in London Bridge and Borough Market last 3 June.
Larner famously shouted ‘F*** you, I’m Millwall’ as he grappled with the terrorists.
But as Larner recovered from his serious injuries, a video emerged of him spitting at a black photographer and shouting abuse in Elephant and Castle, last February.
Roy Larner, who famously tackled terrorists at London Bridge, has avoided jail for racially abusing and spitting at a black photographer at a protest and abusing an MP’s member of staff
Then, a little over a month after his heroics during the London Bridge attack, the Millwall fan launched into a racist outburst at his local MP’s office in Brixton.
Prosecutor Carol Summers told Inner London Crown Court: ‘On 13 July last year, the defendant entered the office of his Labour MP, Neil Coyle.
‘He then spoke with a member of staff at the front door and said, “Sadiq Khan shouldn’t even be in the country,” and called him “a pile of s***.”
He told a Muslim member of staff: “All Muslims are the same – scum,” before making a gun gesture with a rolled up newspaper, the court heard.
Describing Larner’s clash with anti-capitalist protestors, which was caught on camera, prosecutor Ms Summers said Larner reacted to anti-Brexit and anti-Trump campaigners.
She told the court: ‘That video shows Roy Larner with two dogs on leads and protestors chanting can be heard in the background.
‘He seems to be on the pavement and he says, ‘F***ing foreign c***s.’
‘He then leans towards the black photographer and spits at him; his head is seen to thrust forwards.
‘The photographer says, “Don’t spit at me,” about three times and the defendant is saying, “Don’t take a picture of me, you c***.”
‘The defendant then walks away to St Georges Road and turns back, shouting, “People like you stink, foreign c***s, f*** off.”
‘As he is saying this he appears very aggressive and is struggling with his dogs pulling him in the other direction.’
Larner’s defence lawyer, Christopher Surtees-Jones, told the court how he was caught up in the London Bridge attack as part of his mitigation.
He told the court: ‘Mr Larner was enjoying a convivial drink when three armed terrorists ran amok,’ said Mr Surtees-Jones.
‘The three individuals came into the proximity of Mr Larner, and he immediately ran forward and endeavoured to prevent them causing harm to others.
‘The police accept that his very swift and brave actions prevented further injury and loss of life.
‘As a consequence of his bravery he sustained very severe injuries and was taken directly by the police to the hospital, as they would not risk waiting for an ambulance.
‘I am sure your honour will be shocked to hear, that from June up until today he has spoken to counselling services just twice.
‘He is involved in charity fundraising for the London Bridge incident and the Manchester Arena bombing, he is involved through the local community and football fans.
‘The local Millwall community group ran a program to increase racial awareness, Mr Larner attended voluntarily on that course.’
The court heard that Larner receiving benefits and doing his best to support a 15-year-old daughter.
The judge said: ‘You are entitled to express your views, as they are entitled to express theirs and they cannot expect everyone to agree with them.
‘But nobody should be subjected to the kind of racist abuse, also involving spitting, that this complainant was.
‘But then, ironically, you showed that you can bring great benefit because before you were arrested you became a national hero on 3 June.
‘And of course you cannot use that for the rest of your life, but it is a side of your character that I must – and do – take into account.
‘As you heard me say to your counsel, it is no excuse that you were a victim of a Muslim attack for you to behave in that way to people of the Muslim faith.’
Larner, of Brixton, admitted racially aggravated common assault, in respect of the incident on 20 February and religiously aggravated harassment on 13 July.
He was sentenced to eight weeks, suspended for 12 months, for spitting on the photographer and fined £50 for his anti-Islam abuse.
In addition he will submit to a rehabilitation requirement for anger management and diversity awareness and he is banned from attending his local MP’s office for two years.