Shop man hit in race attack

Justice
Justice

A Blackpool shopkeeper has told of his shock at being punched to the ground in a racist attack.

Gulamoyhuddin Kaduji, 30, was working in his Pound Zone store in Topping Street when he was smacked in the face by 26-year-old Lee Smith whose only motive was that the shopkeeper “looked at him”.

Smith, of Osborne Road, Blackpool, was already on a suspended jail term for brandishing knives and swords out of a window when he attacked Mr Kaduji, on February 10 this year.

He admitted racially aggravated assault at Preston Crown Court.

Mr Kaduji, originally from Gujarat province in India, has been running a store in Blackpool for a year-and-a-half.

He said: “There are problems with shoplifting so I try to keep an eye on people. This guy started shouting at me, shouting abuse, saying he would hit me.

“Eventually he left the store. Then suddenly he ran back in and punched me in the face. It was a shock, I didn’t expect it. I was just protecting my business. My wife was in the shop and she saw everything. She got a picture of him.”

Preston Crown Court was told she described his language as “disgusting and awful” and said the attack was unprovoked.

In a police interview, Smith claimed his actions were “self defence”.

Defending, Chris Hudson said: “When they went in the shop they felt from the moment they stepped in the door they were under observation.

“It would appear the shopkeeper came out, and was keeping an eye on Mr Smith but the trouble is he is a vulnerable and sensitive individual.”

Judge Simon Newell sentenced Smith to a rehabilitation activity requirement, a curfew, and ordered him to pay £150 compensation at £5 per week.

The judge said: “It’s a very, very unpleasant incident, not only for Mr Kaduji and his wife but also for her (witness).”

Mr Kaduji said: “There is something on the street every day, but it’s people fighting, drinking, shouting.

“This was the first racist incident. You just have to brush it off, get on with it. I have a 
lot of regular customers and they are very good and supportive.”