Glasgow & West Scotland

Public transport fears of train racism victim Sanaa Shahid

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMrs Shahid filmed Alexander Mackinnon on the train

A woman who was racially abused on a train has spoken of her apprehension about travelling on public transport in future.

Sanaa Shahid was with her four-year-old son when they were targeted by solicitor Alexander Mackinnon on the Glasgow-bound service from London.

He took exception to their presence in first class and told them they should not be in the country.

Mrs Shahid said the incident had also left her young son fearful.

Speaking on BBC Scotland's Kaye Adams programme, Mrs Shahid said she was determined to speak up against racism.

She told the programme: "I'm born and bred in Glasgow. I consider myself to be Scottish Pakistani. Everything has finished now, but if I was to travel down to London, if I go on public transport, it would still be in the back of my mind.

"I'm not scared to speak up, which is why I did speak up about all of this, because no-one should accept this and no-one should make you feel like you don't belong in your own country. But the thing that scares me is that there's people out there that won't know what to say.

"If this was to happen to my mum, my mum would maybe turn round and say to me 'just ignore it'.

'Disgrace to humanity'

MacKinnon was fined last week at Carlisle Magistrates Court after admitting the racially aggravated offence, carried out on 29 December.

Mrs Shahid, who works as a corporate lawyer, said she was accosted by a drunken MacKinnon on the 14:30 train as it travelled north.

He had targeted her son, telling him to be quiet as he sat in the carriage quietly playing a computer game.

He then turned to Mrs Shahid and said they did not belong in first class or the country.

Mrs Shahid told MacKinnon he was a racist and began filming him.

Image copyright Geograph/David Dixon
Image caption MacKinnon appeared at Carlisle Magistrates Court last week

As he prepared to be escorted from the train by British Transport Police, MacKinnon told Mrs Shahid: "You're so wonderful wasting police time, miss", before swearing at her and her son.

Mrs Shahid answered: "You're a disgrace to humanity. Just get off."

Mrs Shahid said the incident had also taken its toll on her four-year-old son. She told the programme: "He is aware. he's a very sensitive boy and he was aware of everything that had happened at the time.

"He's fearful of the police. He thinks that the police are there to take you away if you are bad.

"In the few days after the incident he said 'mama is the police going to take me away, I'm naughty, is the police going to take me away?'

Mrs Shahid added: "It has affected him, but it's something that we're working on."

Related Topics