Pregnant mother forced to sleep in car after suffering racist abuse

Pregnant mother and her two children were forced to sleep in their car after suffering racist abuse from their neighbour, 44, who played loud music and banged on their door, court hears

  • Lionel Munt, 44, shouted at the family of four to ‘go back to their own country’ 
  • Was previously found guilty of racially aggravated behaviour and harassment
  • He has been sentenced to nine months and two weeks in prison and given restraining order and banned from playing loud music late at night 

A pregnant mother and her two young children were forced to sleep in their car to avoid racial abuse being shouted at them from an upstairs neighbour. 

Lionel Munt, 44, of Great Thornton Street, Hull, would bang on the family’s door and shout at them to ‘go back to their own country’ in the early hours of the morning while the children, aged two and three, were sleeping. 

Munt has previously been found guilty of racially aggravated behaviour and harassment and was serving a suspended sentence for that conviction during this latest campaign of abuse. 

The mother and her children still wake up in the middle of the night terrified that Munt is at their door.   

Prosecuting, Shaun Dodds, told Hull Crown Court on Monday that Munt would play music so loud between 1am and 6am every night the flat below would ‘vibrate.’

A pregnant mother and her two young children were forced to sleep in their car to avoid racial abuse being shouted at them from their upstairs neighbour, Lionel Munt (pictured), 44

This escalated and Mr Dodds said Munt could be heard ‘throwing furniture around.’

He added: ‘He would then go downstairs and bang on the family’s door in the early hours of the morning. She thought the door would be broken down.

‘During one incident she looked out and saw him holding something which she thought was a knife.

‘On two previous occasions he caused damage to the door and would throw a pram against it. On July 19 this year he banged on the door and both children woke up crying and frightened.’

The woman, who spent nights alone with the children as her husband worked, could not understand what Munt was shouting through the door but neighbours later told police he could be heard shouting at the family to ‘go back to their own country’ and to ‘open the f****** door.’

Munt of Great Thornton Street (pictured), Hull, would bang on the family’s door and shout at them to ‘go back to their own country’ in the early hours of the morning while the children, aged two and three, were sleeping

Mr Dodds said: ‘It got so bad the family had taken to sleeping in their car.’

In a victim personal statement, the woman told the court she had even stopped taking her children to nursery for fear of bumping into Munt.

She said: ‘Due to his behaviour I have developed anxiety and I now shake when I hear loud music. I wake up jumping thinking he is at the door and my children wake up in fear asking if the bad man is coming back. I was once taken to hospital as my heart rate had risen that much and I could not breathe. My GP has sent me to counselling.’

Hull Crown Court heard Munt has previous convictions for offences such as affray, robbery and racially aggravated behaviour and harassment, for which he was given a suspended sentence for.

Munt was subject of this suspended sentence at the time of the offences against the family.

Mitigating, Mark Savage, told the court Munt was under the influence of drink and drugs at the time of the offences and knew his actions were ‘not acceptable.’

He said: ‘He says that when he is not under the influence of drink or drugs he is not racist. He has used his time remanded in custody wisely and for the last seven weeks has been on the drug rehabilitation wing where he has stayed drug-free and is enjoyed that feeling.

‘At the time he was using drink and drugs as a coping mechanism for other mental health problems. He was drinking six litres of cider. He knows he needs to change or the revolving door of prison will go on forever.’

Recorder Gavin Doig told the court that a pre-sentence report undertaken by the probation service showed Munt had shown ‘no remorse’ for his actions.

He sentenced Munt to nine months and two weeks in prison for two counts of racially aggravated harassment and breach of a suspended sentence.

The judge said: ‘This was a campaign of harassment against innocent victims. You have been battling drink and drug addiction for many years.

‘There was no clear expression of remorse or acceptance in your pre-sentence report. Your barrister said you are keen to change your life and I hope that is right.’

Munt has also been made the subject of a five-year restraining order and must not contact directly or indirectly the family. He is also banned from playing loud music between the hours of 11pm and 7am.

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