Billy Charlton trial: Protester claimed women were being 'spiked' in Sunderland city centre

Billy Charlton pictured outside of Newcastle Crown Court
Billy Charlton pictured outside of Newcastle Crown Court

Detectives launched an investigation after a protester claimed during a series of public speeches that women were being spiked by city centre attackers.

William Charlton, who is on trial for stirring up racial hatred during demonstrations in Sunderland, claimed during his talks that women were being drugged while socialising in Sunderland city centre.

Jurors have heard Northumbria Police launched an investigation into the spiking claims and found no evidence to support what had been said.

A Detective Inspector has told Newcastle Crown Court potential spiking incidents in the centre of the city were investigated, during the time span of September 2016 to July 2017.

The officer told jurors: "Across that time span there were 13 incidents where the word 'spiked' had been used during an initial report to the police."

The court heard around half of the claims were retracted the day after they were reported when the person realised they had probably just had too much to drink.

Others involved no drugs being found during hospital tests.

The officer added: "There was three actual incidents we went on to record as a crime.

"I researched those crimes and found on one occasion the offender was described as a foreign male.

"The other two occasions were described as white British males.

"On one of those crimes, there was an arrest made of a white British male."

The detective added: "I was satisfied that what I had believed was actually the truth, I didn't see we had any kind of issue with spiking in the city centre."

During cross examination by Charlton's barrister Nicholas Lane, the officer confirmed that other speakers at the demonstrations, who gave speeches at the same events as Charlton, have not been prosecuted for what they said.

She added: "Mr Charlton was the figurehead for Sunderland, not only in what was being said at the protests by Mr Charlton, I was getting updates of what Mr Charlton was putting on Facebook and for me that was fake news, a lot of sensationalism, stretching of the truth.

"He was the person I felt was inciting racial hatred within Sunderland."

Prosecutors claim Charlton's public protest talks in the city centre spread hatred against "immigrants, Asians, black people and the police" and caused a rise in the city's racial crime and disorder.

It is claimed Charlton, who was known as "Billy", hid his racist agenda under the "cloak of respectability" that he wanted to protect women and children from attacks by speaking at the protests.

The 53-year-old, of no fixed address, denies six offences of stirring up racial hatred.

The trial continues.