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Judge calls on courts to protect Norwich shopkeepers after city attack

PUBLISHED: 06:00 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:45 02 July 2010

Christine Cunningham

A judge said that the courts had to protect small shopkeepers after hearing how a youth attacked a Norwich shop manager and racially abused him.

A judge said that the courts had to protect small shopkeepers after hearing how a youth attacked a Norwich shop manager and racially abused him.

Ross Mackenzie, 18, grabbed shop manager Thiyago Jeyakanthan by the throat after he confronted him about his behaviour in his shop in Rosary Road, in Norwich.

Norwich Crown Court heard that Mackenzie had taken a chocolate from a box of chocolates and his friend had taken a can of beer without paying for them.

When Mr Jeyakanthan had spoken to them, Mackenzie grabbed him round the throat and pushed him against the shop door.

Malcolm Robins, prosecuting. said that Mackenzie then made a racial insult and threatened to kill the manager.

He later returned and made a further racial remark to the shop manager and had pulled him to the floor and carried out a further attack. A window at the shop worth £80 was also broken.

Mr Robins said that a customer phoned for police and Mackenzie was later arrested.

Mackenzie of Colegate, Norwich, admitted racially aggravated common assault and criminal damage in August last year.

The court heard he had been given a reprimand in February last year for racially aggravated threatening behaviour when he had made racial remarks to staff at an Indian restaurant in Magdalen Street, in Norwich.

Judge Paul Downes adjourned sentence until Friday but told him: “This was a serious attack. People that work in small shops are vulnerable to people like you coming in and attacking them, They are very often there on their own and it's very easy to take advantage of that.”

Jonathan Morgans, for Mackenzie said he was very sorry for what he did: “He wants to apologise to his victim. He is determined never to behave in this way again.” He said there was no underlying racist tendency and said: “It was a comment made in the heat of the moment.”

He said that Mackenzie wanted to change his behaviour.

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