Brexit support yelled ‘respect the vote’ as he egged Corbyn

Barnet

A Brexit supporter who shouted ‘respect the vote’ as he slapped an egg over Jeremy Corbyn’s head in a mosque is facing jail.

John Murphy, 31, ambushed the Labour leader during talks while visiting Finsbury Park Mosque, in his Islington North constituency, on March 3.

Corbyn, along with Shadow Home Secretary Dianne Abbott, was attending the mosque as part of the annual Visit My Mosque day and arrived at 2.25pm.

After giving a speech Corbyn and his attache made their way to the Muslim Welfare House, which is part of the mosque complex.

He was sitting beside his wife Laura when Murphy snuck up behind him and delivered the egg to his head in a single blow.

Murphy admitted assault by beating and Corbyn, 69, spoke of his shock in an impact statement read out at Westminster’ Magistrates’ Court.

Corbyn said: ‘I was very shocked and surprised when the assault occurred as I have always felt safe at the Muslim Welfare House.

‘The assault was completely unprovoked and threatening.

‘My wife Laura was sitting beside me and feels very stressed on my behalf.

‘She has been in a state of shock for the past few days after this.

‘Dianne Abbott witnessed the assault and was very shocked by it.’

Through his lawyer, Murphy accused the leader of the opposition of ‘over-egging’ the impact of the incident.

Kevin Christie, prosecuting, told the court: ‘Jeremy Corbyn said that the atmosphere was friendly and everyone seemed to be in good spirits.

‘He felt a strike to the right side of his forehead.

‘As he was struck he heard a male voice say: ‘Respect the vote!’

Corbyn was the whisked away from from Murphy and realised that he had ‘egged’ in a nearby washroom.

When he left he could see Murphy in a side room.

Mr Christie said: ‘The male was repeatedly shouting:’ Respect the vote’ whilst being restrained.

‘He described the male’s face as being contorted in anger.’

Corbyn has discussed security with his staff since the attack and said in his statement: ‘Since then I have had a discussion with colleagues about my security.

‘And whilst I am determined to make sure that I am able to interact with people as I always have I now have to be more cautious.

‘I feel that this kind of attack drives a wedge between elected representatives and those who elect them.

‘We are now reviewing and increasing my security protection.’

The Labour leader said news of the assault ‘stressed’ friends and family.

He said: ‘Many friends and family have been in touch since the incident and many have told me how stressed they are.

‘My three sons heard about the incident very quickly on social media.

‘They were very stressed and distressed by the assault and were very worried for my safety.’

The statement said that his members of staff were also worried.

Corbyn said that the incident had particularly upset his wife.

He said: ‘Whilst I am in a public role it is often very hard seeing my wife, sons and other family members upset and stressed because of my role and this attack on me.’

However, he said he was determined to carry on.

He said: ‘I am determined that I will carry on in my public role and will ensure that I am never cut off from the people that I represent.’

The court heard Murphy had no previous convictions and gave a no comment interview to police at the station.

Mr Christie said Mrs Corbyn described seeing a red mark on her husband’s head after the assault.

Police found four more eggs on Murphy when he was searched at the police station, the court heard.

Malik Aldeiri, defending, said Corbyn had not increased his security since the incident and said of the impact statement: ‘I don’t want to make any puns…it was over-egged’.

He said: ‘Public servants will receive and be subject to varying degrees of animosity.

Chief Magistrate, Emma Arbuthnott, told the court that she was considering a short custodial sentence due to Corbyn being an MP.

She said: ‘This is a public servant.

‘A message needs to go out that the courts will not allow this to continue.

‘This is a politician who wants to be close to his voters.’

The mosque, which is in Corbyn’s constituency, was previously the site of a terrorist attack in June 2017 when Darren Osborne drove a van at a crowd of worshippers, murdering Makram Ali, 51, and injuring others. Osborne was later jailed for life and a minimum of 43 years.

Murphy, of Totteridge Common, Barnet, north London, admitted assault by beating.

He will either be sentenced this afternoon or at a later date once a report has been prepared.
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