Teenager sentenced over disorder outside hotel hosting asylum seekers

A teenager who threw lit fireworks at police officers during a protest outside a hotel used to house asylum seekers has been sentenced to three years’ detention.

Jared Skeete, 19, snorted ketamine in front of the line of riot police as he shouted abuse at them during disorder outside the Suites Hotel in Knowsley on February 10, Liverpool Crown Court heard on Monday.

Body-worn video footage taken from behind the officers’ riot shields showed numerous fireworks being lit and thrown by Skeete, who stood near a burnt-out police van at the front of around 100 protesters.

The violence, which happened during a protest over alleged incidents related to residents, was condemned by politicians at the time.

Sentencing Skeete, who pleaded guilty to violent disorder last month, Judge David Swinnerton said: “The scenes overall were appalling and shameful.

“Those scenes of what you did bring shame on you. They were shameful for the city.

“That is not who we are.

“You goaded the police, you sniffed from your bag of ketamine deliberately in front of them and you were, throughout, shouting abuse at them.”

Martyn Walsh, prosecuting, said Skeete, of Irwell Close in Aigburth, Liverpool, shouted to police: “Why are you protecting the scumbags, you big gang of dickheads?”

Skeete was also reported to have said to an officer: “What are you going to do you silly little sausage? Go and do something better lad, go and arrest them nonces.”

When arrested and interviewed Skeete denied being the person shown in the footage but then asked if he could have a copy of it for himself, describing it as “like a movie” and “brutal”, the court heard.

In a statement, Pc John Thompson, who was hit on his arm and foot by objects, said he had suffered bruising and swelling and the incident had caused stress to him and his family.

Inspector Ian Murphy had suffered post concussion syndrome following the disorder, the court heard.

Mr Walsh said £83,684 worth of damage was caused to five police vehicles, including the van which was burnt-out.

Peter White, defending, said Skeete had been socialising with friends on February 10 when he been made aware of social media rumours which incorrectly accused a resident of the hotel of a serious offence.

He said: “He is a young man aged 19 who allowed himself to be caught up in mob mentality and used this as an opportunity to act in a thoroughly unacceptable manner.”

He said Skeete was not part of any right-wing organisation and was not involved in planning the disorder.

He added: “He was only there for the anarchy that resulted.”

Mr White said: “He genuinely wishes to apologise for his actions.”

The prosecution did not continue with a charge of assaulting an emergency worker because it was incorporated into the violent disorder charge, the court was told.

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