Billy Charlton trial: Sunderland protester was "very, very angry" after alleged attack on woman

A protester on trial over words he used during speeches has told jurors he was "very very angry" after a woman told him she was attacked and felt the city was being let down by the authorities.
Billy Charlton pictured outside of Newcastle Crown CourtBilly Charlton pictured outside of Newcastle Crown Court
Billy Charlton pictured outside of Newcastle Crown Court

William Charlton, known as Billy, took part in and spoke at a series of organised demonstrations in Sunderland after a woman claimed she had been subjected to a "horrendous" ordeal in the city.

The 55-year-old is accused of planning "to stir people up against Muslims, Asians, black people and the police" during speeches he gave at the campaign marches.

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Charlton, of no fixed address, is on trial at Newcastle Crown Court where he denies five charges of stirring up racial hatred between November 2016 and July 2017.

While giving evidence from the witness box, Charton, who said he never intended to stir hate and is not racist, told jurors he met the woman who said she had been attacked.

Jurors have heard six men were arrested over the alleged incident but no charges were brought.

Charlton has told the court he went to a police station to complain in person "minutes" after he heard none of the men who were questioned would be charged.

He told jurors: "I was very, very angry."

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Charlton told jurors other women started to speak to him about experiences they had had in the city.

He added: "I have never had any intention, ever, of inciting racial hatred" and said he only ever spoke out about people who had committed crimes.

Charlton told jurors he has "no problem" with the police in general and had had meetings with high ranking officials in a bid to help tackle city sex crime.

He said he also spoke at the marches in an effort to get the word out and explained his use of the word "monsters" referred to rapists, not immigrants.

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He added: "It was specifically those people who committed the crimes, that was what I was specifically on about.

"I was talking about people who were committing rape. It doesn't matter what colour you are. If you are a rapist, you are a monster, they call them beasts."

Charlton added: "I was just trying to raise awareness of what was happening."

Charlton told the court he thought it was wrong that the six men questioned for the alleged attack "just walked away from all this".

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He said women were being spiked and attacked in the city at the time of the marches and added: "It was absolute madness at the time and no-one would take any notice."

Charlton said during one speech "they've got to close the borders".

He explained from the witness box: "People who come here and commit these horrendous crimes, that's all I'm talking about, all I'm saying is for committing these types of crimes they should be deported, they shouldn't be kept in our country, they should be deported."

Charlton denies all charges.

The trial continues.