A man has been convicted of religiously-aggravated harassment after sending Alan Sugar a series of abusive and antisemitic letters.
Lord Sugar, the former host of The Apprentice television show, was reluctant to refer the matter to the police, but thanks officers for “helping to shine a light on the fact that this type of behaviour is simply not acceptable.”
Patrick Gomes, 70, sent three letters to one of Lord Sugar’s business premises in Loughton between October and December 2018, according to Essex Police.
Each letter was addressed to Lord Sugar and reportedly included abusive, threatening and offensive language that was also derogatory towards the Jewish faith.
Mr Gomes was arrested at his home in Leyton in March 2019, after his DNA and fingerprints were found on one of the letters. Police found additional discriminatory letters, and discovered that the address of the letters to Lord Sugar was in Mr Gomes’ address book.
Mr Gomes denied involvement but was found guilty of religiously-aggravated harassment, putting those targeted in fear of violence, on 1st December at Chelmsford Crown Court.
He did not appear at court and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was arrested on 2nd December and is being remanded in custody to await sentencing, which will take place on 23rd December.
A spokeswoman for Chelmsford Crown Court said a sentencing hearing has been listed for 23rd December.
Lord Sugar said: “I would like to pass on my sincere gratitude to the police for their assistance in this case. I have to be honest, I was reluctant to pass this matter on to the police as they are already stretched and have enough on their plates…I would like to thank them sincerely for helping to shine a light on the fact that this type of behaviour is simply not acceptable and that racism or any form of discrimination is simply not acceptable.”
Investigating officer PC Marc Arnold, of Epping Forest’s Community Policing Team, said: “Nobody should ever be subjected to this level of abuse or fear physical violence because of their faith. I’m really pleased that justice has been rightly served. There is simply no excuse for any hate crime and if this happens to you or you witness this type of behaviour, please tell us – we will not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind and neither should you.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Lord Sugar was right to refer this matter to the police. There must be zero tolerance for antisemitic crime, but that can only happen when victims report incidents. If racism against Jews is allowed to fester, the number of victims will only grow. We commend the police for pursuing the matter, and trust that the sentence will be proportionate to the crime.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews more than four times likelier to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has launched a new weekly podcast. New episodes of Podcast Against Antisemitism are available every Thursday and can be streamed here or downloaded wherever you get your podcasts.