Christopher Gordon has been jailed for 22 months after telling police he was going to ‘find an Asian person’ and kill them.
An armed and masked man arrested in a park moments after telling police he wanted to ‘kill Asians’ in revenge for the Manchester Arena bombing has been caged.
Christopher Gordon was wielding a kitchen knife and wearing a balaclava when an officer arrested him in Birchfields Park, between Longsight and Rusholme.
The area of south Manchester was described in court as being ‘heavily populated by the Asian community.’
Gordon, 33, has now been jailed for 22 months by a judge who said the ‘tragic and horrendous’ attack was no justification for his behaviour.
Prosecutor Simon Barrett told Manchester Crown Court that racially-motivated hate crimes increased four-fold in the month after the May 22 bombing at the Arena , which claimed the lives of 22 people and left around 250 others injured.
The court heard a female officer had to threaten to deploy her Taser on Gordon after catching up with him at dawn in Birchfields Park in the early hours of June 7.
A jogger had told her ‘there’s a man down there with a knife wearing a balaclava’.
The court was told Gordon dropped the knife when warned, but as he was arrested, said: “I’m f****** sick of these b******* bombing our country, they need to be sorted out.”
He then referred to ‘killing Asian b*******’, Mr Barrett said.
Minutes earlier Gordon had phoned 999 and told the operator that if police did not come and get him he would ‘kill somebody’.
He told them he was in Birchfields Park, that he had a black mask on and a knife, and said he was ‘going to kill the b******* who f****** blew us up’.
“I’m coming for them Asian b*******. I’m not promising that I’m not going to walk down the park and find an Asian person,” he said.
Gordon, who works as a cleaner, later admitted making threats to kill – a racially-aggravated public order offence – and possessing a bladed article.
Prosecutor Simon Barrett told the sentencing hearing Gordon had been drinking on the day of the incident and had earlier made drunken calls to police in which he ‘reported a robbery and indicated he had not paid a fine’.
Interviewed following his arrest, Gordon ‘accepted his wrongdoing’, but denied being racist, said he had ‘friends of different colours’, and that he did not intend to kill anybody.
Gordon’s defence barrister, Gwen Henshaw, said his offending came about because crises in his own life and the crisis in the city coincided, leaving him ‘confused, muddled and grief-stricken’.
“He finds what happened abhorrent, he his horrified by his own actions, he told me he sat in his cell with his head in his hands thinking ‘what have I done, what have I said?’”, Miss Henshaw told the court.
She added: “At the time he had suffered bereavement, he was out of work for the first time in his adult life, he started to abuse alcohol.
“He spent some time in St Ann’s Square looking at the flowers and feeling – as every right-thinking member of society was and still is – shocked and grief-stricken by what happened at Manchester Arena.
“He doesn’t quite know how he found himself in the park. He would wish me to tell the court he meant no harm, does not hold racist attitudes and was dealing badly with crises within his own life and crises in society.”
Sentencing, Recorder Mukhtar Hussain QC said: “Young people and children lost their lives, many, many were injured and the city will suffer for a very long time – one can understand the feelings that would generate in Mancunians.
“But that does not in any way justify targeting a vulnerable group. The message must go out that the courts will protect ordinary law-abiding citizens of this country.”