Ex-soldier Andrew Ryan admits burning Koran in Carlisle

A former soldier has admitted setting fire to a copy of Muslim holy book the Koran in the centre of Carlisle.

Andrew Ryan said he had burned the book in English Street in front of shoppers after being "shocked" watching a Muslim burning a poppy on Remembrance Day.

Appearing before city magistrates, 32-year-old Ryan, of Summerhill, admitted religiously aggravated harassment and theft of a Koran from a library.

A custodial sentence was not ruled out. Ryan will be sentenced on 14 April.

The hearing heard that the defendant set fire to the book near Carliol Cross monument at 1200 GMT on 19 January and the incident was witnessed by shoppers and schoolchildren.

Lauren Heasley, for the defendant, said Ryan had not intended to stir up racial hatred but "objected" to Muslim extremists.

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