Former soldier told police he did not know how to change Facebook privacy settings
A former soldier from Aldershot who posted a series of racist outbursts on Facebook has avoided a prison sentence, despite magistrates describing their ‘surprise’ at the nature of his comments.
David John Lane, 46, made anti-Muslim comments between May 23 and June 1 in response to the death of Drummer Lee Rigby on May 22, who he said he knew from the army.
He pleaded guilty at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court on August 15 to intending to cause any person religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress, and was sentenced at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court last Thursday. Among the comments made from his Brighton Road home was one stating he wanted to drag a male Muslim into the street and ‘batter him to within an inch of his life’.
Another read ‘dirty Muslim scum should have been shot dead’ and ‘hope he gets a battering’, referring to one of the suspects charged with Drummer Rigby’s murder.
At the sentencing, chairman of the bench Debbie Luff deliberated with fellow magistrates before suspending a four-month prison sentence for 12 months. She told Lane: “We were all quite surprised by the extent of what you had put on Facebook. We agree that it does meet the custody threshold but we are going to suspend the sentence.”
Lane will have to complete a supervision order during the next year and a diversity awareness and prejudice course. He was also ordered to pay £85 legal costs and a victim surcharge of £80.
Drummer Rigby, 25, was killed in broad daylight near Woolwich barracks in south east London. Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, have been charged with murder and are due to stand trial on November 18.
Lane told police he was in the same regiment as Drummer Rigby and went out drinking with him and other soldiers.