Notorious Gary Saunders spared jail for spitting on Portsmouth security guard, threatening to 'rip' woman's eyes out and racist abuse

A NUISANCE thug who spat on a security guard, threatened to rip a woman’s eyes out and called an Asian woman a ‘camel head’ has been spared jail.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 4:55 am

Notorious Gary Saunders, 61, was at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court where he was found guilty of spitting at the Fratton guard in a racist assault.

It was the latest conviction in a series of ugly incidents carried out by Saunders, who has around 360 past convictions, in Portsmouth.

Magistrates said his offences were ‘serious’ and imposed a 41-week jail term suspended for a year.

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Gary Saunders

They made a five-year Asbo-style criminal behaviour order. That tells him ‘not to pester’ anyone in public or private for money or goods, even with the promise to pay back.

He is also banned from cycling on a footpath and must not remain in premises when asked to leave.

Known for cycling around while wearing a black top hat, Saunders, of Osborne Road, Southsea, is said to have been working well with probation, who urged the court to spare him jail.

He nodded to magistrates as he left the dock.

Opening his trial today prosecutor Alicia Keen said Saunders spat at Nazar Abuzaid at the Bridge Centre at Asda in Fratton on April 22 last year.

The guard said Saunders came up close to him face-to-face in the 1.15pm confrontation and was screaming and shouting, so Mr Abuzaid pushed him backwards.

Giving evidence, Mr Abuzaid said: ‘He came and I pushed him from my face and when I pushed him he spat on my jacket and he started swearing.’

He said the spit landed on his jacket, and added: ‘It’s very disgusting.’

Saunders, Ms Keen told magistrates, then said: ‘You can’t talk to me like that in my own country, get back to your own country.’

Saunders denied the incident and said it was ‘just words’.

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Giving evidence, he said: ‘We were arguing. We were disagreeing, nothing major. Just a bit of a disagreement and I got pushed. I controlled myself.’

But magistrates ruled Mr Abuzaid was a credible witness who kept his story straight when quizzed by defence solicitor Simon Moger.

During another incident on March 12 this year, Saunders turned his attention to a woman, Ionie de Gruchy, and said: ‘I’m going to rip your eyes out.’

In yet another incident, this time at a Natwest Bank on December 2 last year, Saunders lashed out at Heather Smith, who hadn’t realised there was a queue and went to go inside.

‘That’s when he pushed her arm, started shouting,’ the prosecutor said. She escaped without injury but was ‘shocked and scared’.

Saunders turned his attention to Alfath Begum, an Asian woman, in the queue who he repeatedly called a ‘camel head’.

The prosecutor said: ‘She was so scared she wanted to cry.’

Saunders was today found guilty of racially-aggravated assault on Mr Abuzaid. He previously admitted failing to turn up at court on June 15.

Saunders admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words causing harassment, alarm or distress and another of the same offence but racially-aggravated outside the bank.

He admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words causing harassment, alarm or distress on March 12 this year, when he threatened the woman about ripping her eyes out.

Probation said Saunders had been complying with probation. He was jailed in April last year after using a ‘weaponised’ Covid cough at a shopper in Cornucopia, Osborne Road, on April 14.

Magistrates heard Saunders owes £1,038 to the court for past offences.

He was ordered to pay £550 split between his latest four victims.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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