Man fined over remark in row

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A MAN has been fined £250 and made to pay £50 compensation after a heated exchange in which he made a derogatory reference to a US serviceman’s nationality.

Matthew Ritchie, 30, of Mildenhall Road, Icklingham, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated harassment at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on July 13.

Prosecuting, Sandra Dyer said the offence was similar to using derogatory names towards black people or people from Pakistan.

Mrs Dyer told the court that the complainant, who is part of the US Airforce, and Ritchie had got into an argument at Thetford Forest and that Ritchie had followed him back to the base.

She said Ritchie was angry when he made the comment about the man’s nationality.

In mitigation, Michael Whatley said that Ritchie was travelling to London by car to pick up his girlfriend.

When he stopped at Thetford Forest to go to the toilet a 4X4 vehicle came ‘screeching round’ and splashed mud all over his car.

He said Ritchie followed the 4X4 to the base and that people there apologised and gave him £20.

As Richie travelled away he stopped at traffic lights, where the 4X4 had also stopped and there followed an exchange of words.

Magistrates fined Ritchie £250 and ordered him to pay the claimant £50 in compensation.

He was also ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.