Disabled man left scared to leave his home after hate crime abuse at The Bridges in Sunderland
A disabled man says he abused and threatened after he accidentally bumped into another shopper while at The Bridges Shopping Centre on Boxing Day.
On Boxing Day (Thursday, December 26), Kenneth Jackson, 54, while at the Bridges Shopping Centre accidentally bumped into another shopper with his mobility walker.
The man turned around and launched a torrent of abuse at Kenneth who suffered a stoke in June last year and is classified as disabled.
The shopper who was on his phone at the time, who has been described as a “large” man, used derogatory terms to describe Kenneth’s condition.
Kenneth said: “I was really frightened, he was a really big lad, with big arms.
“This teenage lad came over and started yelling at him, saying things like ‘can’t you see he’s disabled’ and ‘why don’t you pick on someone your own size.’”
Tensions escalated when the shopper began to threaten violence towards Kenneth and friends of the 54-year-old man attempted to step in. Kenneth said: “My friends tried to have a go at him, but he got more forceful,
“I’ve never been so terrified in my whole life.
“I’m scared to leave the house and go out by myself in case I bump into him again.”
Shaken by the event, Kenneth was taken to a secure room by a member of staff who works for the shopping centre and the police were called.
A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “Shortly before 5pm on Boxing Day, we received a report of an altercation at the Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland.
“The caller reported he had accidentally hit a member of the public with his mobility walker. The offender then verbally abused the victim and threatened him with the use of violence.
“The victim was uninjured but shaken by the incident. An investigation was launched and officers are treating the incident as a suspected hate crime.”
A spokesperson for the Bridges said: “We were made aware of an incident and are fully cooperating with the police during their investigation.”
If anyone has any information about the incident, contact 101 quoting reference 618 261219 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.