'Attacks on MPs must stop': Man admits assaulting Jeremy Corbyn in Muslim Welfare House, Finsbury Park
PUBLISHED: 12:52 25 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:09 25 March 2019
A man who assaulted Jeremy Corbyn in Muslim Welfare House could be jailed to deter further attacks on MPs, a judge said today.
John Murphy, 31, of Whetstone, in Barnet, today pleaded guilty to an assault charge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard how Murphy smacked the Labour leader in the forehead with an egg inside the Seven Sisters Road centre on March 3, which the Labour leader was attending for the annual Visit My Mosque Day.
In a victim impact statement read to court, the Labour leader said: “I was shocked and surprised when the assault occurred as I have always felt safe and secure at the Muslim Welfare House.
“The assault was completely unprovoked and threatening.
“Whilst I’m determined to make sure I’m able to interact with people as I always have, I now have to be more cautious.
“I feel these kinds of attacks drive a wedge between elected representatives and those who elected them in the first place.
“We are now reviewing and increasing my security protection.”
Prosecutor Kevin Christie said Mr Corbyn had just taken his shoes off and was sitting down beside his wife when “suddenly, he felt a strike to the right side of his forehead and then realised someone had reached over his right shoulder and struck him”.
The court heard how a male voice shouted “respect the vote”, in seeming reference to Brexit, as the attack took place.
The prosecution allege Murphy, a Brexiteer, continued to shout “respect the vote” while being restrained by staff.
Mr Corbyn noted Murphy’s face was “contorted” with rage and he appeared “very aggressive”.
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot warned she is considering a short prison sentence for Murphy, who had been equipped with four further eggs.
“This is a public servant and attacks on MPs must stop. The message must go out - this must stop,” she said.
The assault on Corbyn came a week after Labour signalled it would support a second referendum.
Malik Aldeiri, defending, said Mr Corbyn’s statement was “slightly over egged in the sense that Mr Corbyn himself hasn’t suffered any impact”, with the main concerns being from his family.
Murphy, of Totteridge Common, was bailed until later in the day when he may be sentenced.
The Muslim British Council runs Visit My Mosque Day to improve community relations. About 200 mosques across the UK participated this year.
Additional reporting by Press Association