28th Jun, 2022

Man jailed after scaring children with knife on bus and racially abusing police officer in Coventry

Editorial Correspondent 24th Feb, 2020 Updated: 24th Feb, 2020

A MAN has been jailed after brandishing a knife on a bus, scaring passengers including children on their way to school – and racially abusing a police officer.

Avtar Singh Dhillon appeared at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to two charges of possessing a bladed article and a racially-aggravated offence of threatening behaviour.

The case had previously been adjourned after Judge Peter Cooke asked the CPS to review it, suggesting Dhillon should have faced a more serious charge of threatening with a bladed article.

And told that the charges remained the same, he commented: “This man has been woefully under-charged. My hands are tied with how I can deal with this outrageous incident.”

Dhillon (48) of Beake Avenue, Coventry, who had also admitted possessing cannabis, was jailed for a total of two years.

Prosecutor Ian Ball said the incident took place on the number 13 bus as it headed along Binley Road towards Coventry city centre at eight o’clock in the morning on October 1 last year.

The bus was two-thirds full with passengers, who included children on their way to school and women with young children.

Dhillon, who was drunk, began abusing the passenger sitting next to him, using racist language towards him including calling him a highly offensive racial word.

The man moved to another seat, and when other passengers complained about his behaviour, Dhillon was racially abusive towards them as well and produced a knife, threatening to ‘stick’ one woman.

The police were alerted by one of the passengers, and when the bus was intercepted and Dhillon was arrested, he was racially abusive and threatening towards the officers.

Mr Ball added that Dhillon had previous convictions for offences including battery and being drunk and disorderly.

Helen Marley, defending, said: “I cannot stress how out of character that day was for him.

“While he does have some previous convictions, it’s not a particularly extensive record, and he had never spent a period of time in custody before these offences, and has never been in trouble for knife crime before.”

She said Dhillon had been using the knife that day to prepare food, and had put it in his pocket and forgot about it, adding: “He does not accept getting the knife out and threatening a person with it.”

Jailing Dhillon, Judge Cooke told him: “I don’t think you will need to be persuaded by any further recitation of the events of that morning what a disgraceful and disgusting episode it was.

“You were on a relatively busy bus which was on the route schoolchildren were taking to school, and with other passengers including mothers with children, and where there was a racial mix of citizens as is normal in our cities and towns.

“What first drew everyone’s attention was you berating a black gentleman seated next to you. He moved away from you, and you sat there becoming agitated, and you were heard directing racial abuse, including calling that gentleman a nigger.

“A mother on the bus covered her child’s ears and complained to the driver. She also complained to you, and you racially abused her, calling her a ‘fat white b*****.’

“Another passenger saw you threatening a lady on the bus to ‘stick’ her. She says you had a knife in your hand, which you dispute. But if she was wrong, it was a very lucky guess, because when you were arrested you had two knives on you.

“A schoolgirl who was upset by your racial abuse of that gentleman told you to shut up. Good on her, I say. Good for her.

“Your response was to threaten her to cut her face… Through fear of you she got off the bus early and walked the rest of the way to school.

“Because [a woman passenger] had called the police, the bus was intercepted by officers. You were abusive towards them and you continued to be abusive in the car on the way to the station.

“It is serious if people create public order episodes when they are in possession of weapons, it’s worse if they are done in highly public places in confined spaces, and it’s worse if it’s done by someone who is so full of alcohol that they can’t control themselves.”

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