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Police appeal after 'blatant premeditated assault' on Guardian columnist Owen Jones in Pentonville Road

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:13 19 August 2019

Owen Jones give a speech during the March for Europe rally in Parliament Square, London to show support for the European Union in the wake of Brexit.

Owen Jones give a speech during the March for Europe rally in Parliament Square, London to show support for the European Union in the wake of Brexit.

PA Archive/PA Images

Police are appealing for information after Guardian columnist Owen Jones was attacked by four thugs outside a Pentonville Road pub on Saturday.

Owen Jones speaking at the Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party leadership rally in the Camden Centre.Owen Jones speaking at the Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party leadership rally in the Camden Centre.

The left-wing activist was out celebrating his 35th birthday with friends when he was attacked by four males outside the Lexington pub at 3am - Mr Jones believes it was a "blatant premeditated assault".

The attackers made a "direct beeline" for the socialist columnist and also assaulted his friends when they attempted to intervene.

The Met Police said officers are investigating whether the attack was a hate crime.

In a series of tweets posted on Saturday, Mr Jones said: "I was attacked along with my friends in a blatant premeditated assault.

"Six of us left the pub at 3am, and were saying our goodbyes 30 meters away, then a group of 3-4 men left the pub, made a beeline for me, kicked me in the back, threw me on the ground, slamming my head and kicking me in the skull. My friends were punched trying to defend me.

"The group then scarpered: I don't know if they said anything else in the melee. I'm fine other than a big bump on my head and a cut back.

"Given the far right attacks I've had in the streets, and generally escalating threats I've had, I'm in no doubt as to what this is."

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He added: "The far right menace is growing, it is real, it's violent and it's targeting minorities and leftists. We can't let them intimidate us, and we will defeat them."

No arrests have yet been made. Mr Jones and his friends didn't need hospital treatment after the attack.

Det Sgt Scott Barefoot of Islington CID said: "This was a completely senseless attack on a man simply enjoying a night out with friends.

"We are looking into the circumstances of this incident, including if it was a hate crime. Although there were no serious injuries, the effects of becoming a victim of such an attack can continue when any injuries have healed.

"If you were in the area, if you saw a group of males in the Pentonville Road area at the time or have footage of them, please come forward. You can come forward anonymously if you prefer, but please do make the call."

In response to the attack, Labour leader and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: "I send my solidarity to Owen Jones and his friends who were attacked last night.

"Owen believes it was politically motivated, and we know the far right is on the march in our country.

"An attack on a journalist is an attack on free speech and our fundamental values."

Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief of the Guardian and Observer, said: "We deplore the outrageous attack on Owen Jones. Violent attacks on journalists or activists have no place in democratic society."

Anyone who witnessed this incident but has not yet come forward can contact police in Islington on 101 quoting CRIS 2720815/19, Tweet @Met CCC or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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