Stamford Hill: Tire Slashing Was Criminal Damage But Not Antisemitic Attack, Jury Decides

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chnLeaders of one of the UK’s largest Jewish communities have welcomed the conviction of a man over a wave of criminal damage incidents involving cars in north-east London last year.

Huseiyn Seyfi, 27, was jailed for five months and ordered to pay more than £5,000 in compensation after slashing the tyres of dozens of cars in the Stamford Hill area.

However, a jury at Snaresbrook crown court found him not guilty of a charge of “committing racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage”.

Police were called to Darenth Road on 15 November last year following reports of two men slashing tyres. The men fled the scene in a car, which was traced to Seyfi’s home in Ilford, east London. He was arrested on suspicion of racially/religiously aggravated criminal damage and subsequently charged.

While the community welcomed the conviction, members believe that the attacks constituted targeted antisemitic crime.

Barry Bard, coordinator at Stamford Hill Shomrim, a volunteer community security group, said: “This was a big incident in the community, with more than 60 victims in a very close area; it caused great concern and worry to many residents in Stamford Hill, especially to those who felt it was targeted against the Jewish community.

“I would like to thank the police for their amazing work in bringing this offender to justice and more so for their ongoing support to the community, especially in these fragile times with the threat level at severe and anxiety levels raised after recent world events.

“While the community welcomed his conviction, members believe that the attacks were targeted and antisemitic. The court obviously needs to be certain beyond reasonable doubt in order to convict, however that doesn’t change the view of many of the victims, who clearly saw it as a targeted and antisemitic crime due to the area and specific vehicles that were targeted.”

DC Simon Johnston said: “Seyfi caused an extensive amount of damage to parked cars, with 38 owners providing statements. The damage is believed to be in the region of £5,184. He caused distress and upset amongst the victims. His actions have not gone unpunished.”

Charges against another man who was arrested around the same time and charged with racially/religiously aggravated criminal damage were dropped.

The case comes at a time when reports of antisemitic incidents in the UK have risen sharply, according to the Community Security Trust, a Jewish security charity.

There were 473 recorded antisemitic incidents between January and June this year, a 53% rise from 2014, according to figures published by the CST this year.

(Source: Guardian UK)