Tony Browning, 33, activated a Metro emergency brake and subjected a bemused Sudanese man to a disgraceful ordeal in which he branded him a bomber (Photo: Northumbria Police)
A man from Sunderland who activated a Metro emergency brake after branding an innocent passenger an ISIS terrorist in March has been given a 9 month suspended prison sentence at Newcastle Crown Court after admitting racially aggravated harassment.
Tony Browning subjected the bemused victim to a disgraceful ordeal in which he branded him a bomber, ordered him to get off the train and threatened to hit him in front of passengers.
The 33-year-old fairground worker pressed an emergency stop button at Gateshead Stadium in Tyne and Wear as he made wild claims about the man having a knife or a needle.
The court heard Browning’s tirade of abuse happened on the Metro after it departed from Monument, Newcastle, in March.
Police were called and the Sudanese victim, who spoke little English, was handcuffed after he answered every question with “yes”, including when asked if he had a knife.
However, a search of the 25-year-old and the carriage revealed he was unarmed.
Judge Amanda Rippon told Browning: “You abused a young man on a Metro train in this city, who was doing no more than minding his own business, travelling as he was entitled to. You abused him not just generally, but racially, making reference to the colour of his skin, calling him a terrorist, accusing him of having a weapon and frightening him. This debacle was seen by other members of the public and it no doubt distressed them as well.”
She added, “You were calling him a smack head, a terrorist and telling him to get off the train, telling him you were going to hit him. The poor complainant ended up being handcuffed for a short time while police searched for a weapon you said he had, which he never did.”
Prosecutor Neil Pallister said the victim was unclear about what Browning was shouting when he approached him but knew he was swearing. Pallister said Browning “walked up and down the train, shouting” while other shocked passengers looked on.
One witness said Browning also shouted abuse at black passengers before he pressed the emergency brake at Gateshead Stadium. The court heard the victim now feels frightened to use public transport and worries about a similar situation happening again.