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Cricklewood Islamic Centre: Man who drove at worshippers jailed

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Media captionCCTV shows Martin Stokes driving towards worshippers leaving the Islamic Centre

A man who deliberately drove at worshippers leaving an Islamic community centre has been jailed.

Three people were hurt when Martin Stokes drove into crowds leaving the Al-majlis Al-Hussaini centre in Cricklewood, north London on 19 September 2018.

Stokes, of Wembley, admitted dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and harassment.

At Harrow Crown Court on Wednesday he was jailed for five years.

Police said 25-year-old Stokes and others had parked outside the community centre on Horseshoe Close after a night of drinking.

The group were asked to move on by event stewards, who said they were causing a disturbance as there was a private event taking place.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Martin Stokes admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving and harassment

In response, Stokes shouted racist abuse and then deliberately drove at worshippers leaving the community centre, before fleeing the scene, according to Scotland Yard.

Three people were injured, including a 50-year-old man who was hospitalised for three weeks due to serious hip and leg injuries.

Mohammed Al Bayati, from the Al Hussaini Association, said: "Our members were subject to racist and anti-Islamic taunts followed by a violent attack.

"The attack, against men, women and children and which resulted in serious injuries to the victims, took place at night during Muharram, a sacred month of the Islamic calendar."

Image caption The collision happened outside the Al-majlis Al-Hussaini Islamic centre

After sentencing, Det Sgt Kelly Schonhage 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."

Stokes was also banned from driving for seven-and-a-half years.

Michael O'Donnell, 20, and Thomas McDonagh, 20, both from Wembley, were charged in connection with the incident but their cases were discontinued.

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