“Mentally ill” Croydon tram abuse woman bound over

Emma West on Croydon Tram: Pic from Youtube

A mother whose tirade of racist abuse at fellow passengers on a Croydon tram received millions of viewings on YouTube has been bound over to keep the peace.

A judge said that Emma West, 36, was clearly suffering from mental health problems at the time of the outburst on board the tram in Croydon and had unwittingly overdosed on the medication she took for depression.

The mother-of-two was also handed a 24-month community order for offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against her partner and assaulting a police officer in the execution of his duty when she appeared for sentencing at Croydon Crown Court.

The court heard witnesses describe West as “reeking of alcohol” when she carried out the verbal attack.

Prosecutor Julius Capon said: “She in essence persecuted a number of passengers on the tram, subjecting them to some disgusting racial abuse.”

He said the things she said included “you’re not English”, “none of you are English”, “f*** off” and “get back to your own countries”.

Capon said many of the passengers were “upset” by West’s behaviour.

“Some of them described themselves as being disgusted, shocked and horrified,” he said.

But he added that it was not them who complained to police, rather that it came to their attention after a passenger who had filmed it posted it on the internet.

David Martin-Sperry, defending West, said the defendant’s offending was out of character and she did not harbour any racist views.

Martin-Sperry told the court he had heard figures quoted that the footage had received either 11 million or 25 million viewings on YouTube.

The huge amount of publicity the case generated led her to attempt suicide and she had become reclusive due to the abuse she received when she left the house, he said.

It also led her to receive flowers and messages of support from far right supporters. Some have even sent her cheques.

Martin-Sperry said before the tram incident took place West had admitted herself to an institution attached to the psychiatric Maudsley Hospital in Camberwell, south London.

He said: “Their description of her behaviour is she started off mumbling to herself. She then looked towards the ceiling of the tram and gave some of these racist views.

“It is at that stage that bystanders, as it were, people on the tram, then engaged with her and she remonstrated with them.

“A high proportion were people that one would expect to take offence by her remarks.”

West, of New Addington, south London, pleaded guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour when she appeared at the court earlier this month.

West, wearing a black trouser suit, wept after being sentenced.


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