Wembley man jailed for five years for racist hit and run outside Cricklewood Mosque

Martin Stokes. Picture: Met Police

Martin Stokes. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

A racist Wembley man who mowed down a group of pedestrians in a hit and run outside a Cricklewood mosque has been jailed for five years.

Martin Stokes, of Lynton Close, shouted racist abuse before driving into worshippers outside the Al-Majlis Al-Hussaini mosque and speeding off.

The attack, which left three people injured, took place just after midnight on September 19 during Muharram, a sacred month of the Islamic calendar.

The 25-year-old pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and a religiously aggravated offence.

He was sentenced today at Harrow Crown Court and was also banned from driving for seven and a half years.

The court heard that Stokes was parked up with passengers drinking and smoking in a car park close to the community centre in Horseshoe Close where a private event was taking place.

When asked to move on by the event stewards Stokes shouted racist abuse and then deliberately drove his car into a group of people who were leaving the centre before driving off.

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One man in his 50s suffered a serious hip and leg injury and spent more than three weeks in hospital.

Stokes was arrested on October 23 following an investigation by Brent CID and later charged.

Mohammed Al Bayati, from the Al Hussaini Association, said its members were subject to “racist and anti-Islamic taunts aimed at the crowd of worshippers leaving the mosque” adding: “Our thoughts and prayers continue to remain with the victims of the attack and to their friends and families.

“The members of our Association wish to join me in recognising the selfless actions and bravery of all our community wardens, men and women, young and old and the other members of our community whose care and prompt actions helped minimise the extent of the injuries sustained and prevented an even deeper unthinkable tragedy.”

He thanked police for “bringing much needed reassurance to our community.”

Javid Rana, the chair of the Association of Muslim Police, said: “This prosecution sends a clear message that the MPS does not tolerate hate crime of any nature and takes such matters very seriously.”

Det Serg Kelly Schonhage, of the north west command unit, said “Stokes selfishly drove his car at a group of innocent pedestrians and had no regard whatsoever for their safety.

“It is very fortunate that no lives were lost in this incident and we are pleased that Stokes has now been brought to justice.”