Man cleared of using abusive term

PUBLISHED: 16:34 01 June 2006 | UPDATED: 13:30 04 May 2010

A MAN accused of calling Littleport woman Sandy Loveridge a gypsy slag was found not guilty by Ely magistrates on Thursday. Paul Barrowclough had denied using the racial abuse towards Mrs Loveridge — who is a gypsy — as he returned to his home after wor

A MAN accused of calling Littleport woman Sandy Loveridge "a gypsy slag" was found not guilty by Ely magistrates on Thursday.

Paul Barrowclough had denied using the racial abuse towards Mrs Loveridge - who is a gypsy - as he returned to his home after work.

Prosecuting, Matthew Bradbury said gypsies were a racial group, and claimed Barrowclough had used the word gypsy as "a racial slur".

"The Crown takes the view that the word is a racial slur."

He said Mrs Loveridge was a woman of the world. She was a gypsy but had lived at her present address in Parsons Lane for 13 years.

"She resents the term gypsy being used against her as a term of abuse, even more than the word slag," said Mr Bradbury.

Barrowclough, 36, of Parsons Lane, had denied the use of racially aggravated threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment alarm or distress, and the alternative charge of using threatening or disorderly behaviour on September 14 last year. The magistrates found him not guilty of both counts.

When Barrowclough went into the witness box during his trial, he said that Mrs Loveridge had been abusive towards him that day.

He claimed she complained of "a bad smell" as he walked past, and when he asked what she was saying, she replied: "I don't speak to druggie scum."

Denying that he used any racial abuse, Barrowclough told the court: "I am not a racist person, in my work I deal with all ethnic groups. I have dealt with travellers in the course of my work, and never had any complaints.

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