Jailed, heroin ad­dict who beat up George Gal­loway

MP at­tacked in street for his views on Is­rael

Scottish Daily Mail - - Comment - By David Wil­cock

A MAN was yes­ter­day jailed for bru­tally at­tack­ing out­spo­ken MP George Gal­loway in the street and call­ing him ‘anti-semitic’.

Drug ad­dict neil Master­son, 39, l eft the pro- Pales­tine Re­spect Party MP with cuts and bruises to his head and ribs and re­quir­ing hos­pi­tal treat­ment after the fren­zied as­sault.

Master­son, who was wear­ing a pink Tshirt with an Is­raeli De­fence Force logo when he was ar­rested nearby, told po­lice he felt ‘morally jus­ti­fied’ in at­tack­ing the Brad­ford West MP be­cause he was a ‘nazi’ with a ‘shame­ful’ at­ti­tude to­wards Jews, Isle­worth Crown Court heard.

The court heard Dundee-born Gal­loway be­lieves he would have been killed if Master­son, who had ‘re­cently un­der­gone a con­ver­sion to­wards Ju­daism’,

‘I no longer go any­where alone’

had been armed with a knife dur­ing their chance meet­ing.

Master­son was jailed for 16 months for the as­sault on the MP and two months for at­tack­ing Dr Mostafa Ma­roof – who had been pos­ing for a pic­ture with the MP at the time of the at­tack – to be served con­cur­rently.

Last night Mr Gal­loway wel­comed the sen­tence but ques­tioned the decision to drop a charge of re­li­giously ag­gra­vated as­sault.

he said: ‘The sen­tence is rea­son­able in the cir­cum­stances. how­ever, had the charge of re­li­giously ag­gra­vated as­sault not been dropped I’m sure it would have been con­sid­er­ably longer and I fail to see why that charge was dropped given that he was wear­ing an IDF T-shirt and scream­ing about Is­rael and me.

‘If an Asian man wear­ing a Pales­tinian T-shirt had at­tacked a pro-Is­raeli MP would the sen­tence have been the same?’

The court had ear­lier heard a vic­tim im­pact state­ment from Mr Gal­loway in which he de­scribed still be­ing in pain from his in­juries and how it had left his wife and chil­dren in a ‘con­stant state of worry’.

‘I no longer go any­where alone’, he wrote.

The court heard that Master­son had been a func­tion­ing heroin ad­dict for 25 years but had been ‘cold turkey’ for two weeks at the time of the at­tack.

De­fence bar­ris­ter Jonathan Mann said it was ‘a very bad piece of co­in­ci­dence’ that put him in Gol­borne Road with the MP in not­ting hill, London.

he said his client was a nor­mally peace­ful and tol­er­ant man to those with dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal views, but his con­ver­sion had drawn him to­wards con­fronting what he felt was ‘a ris­ing tide of anti-semitism dressed up as anti-zion­ism’.

Mr Mann added: ‘he felt Mr Gal­loway was at the epi­cen­tre of those that were at­tempt­ing to jus­tify their anti-semitism in that way... he felt, that he (Gal­loway) was mak­ing things worse by some of the pub­lic com­ments that he made.’

Mr Mann said that after serv­ing his sen­tence Master­son has been of­fered flights and a place on a Kib­butz in Is­rael where he plans to spend up to a year vol­un­teer­ing.

Master­son, of Kens­ing­ton, who used to work for the Depart­ment of Work and Pen­sions and as a man­ager at the BBC, had pre­vi­ously ad­mit­ted as­sault­ing Mr Gal­loway. he also ad­mit­ted a sec­ond charge of common as­sault against a Moroc­can man who was with the MP as the at­tack hap­pened on Au­gust 29. Judge Ai­dan Mar­ron QC told Master­son: ‘While you are no longer fac­ing a charge of re­li­giously ag­gra­vated as­sault, it would be un­real to ig­nore that the mo­ti­va­tion for this... was your pro­found hos­til­ity to Mr Gal­loway’s views.’

The court heard the at­tack on the 60-year-old for­mer Glas­gow Kelvin Labour MP in­cluded ten punches and a ‘Kung-fu’ at­tack which caused the MP to fall into the road, where Master­son con­tin­ued hit­ting him.

Pros­e­cu­tor Michelle nel­son said Master­son ad­mit­ted to po­lice he said, ‘Anti- semitic lit­tle man, I f****** de­spise you’, dur­ing the at­tack and de­scribed Gal­loway as ‘ a morally and in­tel­lec­tu­ally bank­rupt per­son’.

She added: ‘ he f elt he was morally jus­ti­fied in as­sault­ing Mr Gal­loway. he said he thought Gal­loway was a nazi and his po­lit­i­cal views were hate.’

‘Felt he was morally jus­ti­fied’

As­sault: Ad­dict Neil Master­son is a Jewish con­vert

Out­spo­ken: George Gal­loway MP, 60

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