Former soldier rugby tackled by police after racist abuse at Barnstaple takeaway
A FORMER soldier leaned over the counter of a Barnstaple takeaway, raised his fist and racially abused the owner and his wife.
Christopher Terrance Potter, who was rugby tackled to the ground by a Police Community Support Officer, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated abuse after a magistrate told him his behaviour was despicable
Potter, 27, admitted two counts of racially aggravated abuse and threatening behaviour and one count of assault on a PCSO when he appeared at North Devon Magistrates' Court on Friday.
Karen Ball, for the prosecution, said the incident happened on January 19, when Potter was on a night out with friends to celebrate his birthday, which had been the previous day.
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She said the defendant had initially been laughing and joking in Barum Takeaway, on Queen Street, when he became aggressive towards Linda Martin-Turk, the wife of the takeaway owner, Mr Martin-Turk and another employee.
She said: "He shouted '****s' and lunged across the counter."
She also read from Mrs Martin-Turk's victim impact statement in which she said: "I was really frightened. I thought he was going to come over the counter and hit us
"I thought he was arrogant, aggressive and a moron.
"If he does anything racist again he should go to prison and see how big and tough he is then."
A witness sat outside the takeaway in his car told police he saw Potter leave the takeaway "spoiling for a fight".
The witness told police he saw the victim swing a punch before PCSO Gareth Woolway arrived.
Potter barged PCSO Woolway in an attempt to escape before the PCSO rugby tackled him to the ground.
PCSO Woolway's hand was injured during the struggle.
Paul Walters, for the defence, said his client was ashamed of his behaviour and had returned to the takeaway after his release from custody and given Mrs Martin-Turk flowers and chocolates.
He said Potter had started drinking at midday and, some nine hours later, was a little worse for wear.
"He has little recollection of what happened but accepts fully what's alleged."
Mr Walters said his client, who has previous convictions for similar offences, said his client "doesn't have a drink problem but when he does drink it causes a problem".
Presiding magistrate Paul Cooper told Potter, of 11 St Albans Close, Redhills, Exeter: "You're rightfully ashamed because this was absolutely despicable behaviour."
He adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.