Councillor and anti-racism campaigner Dipu Ahad received vile online beheading threats in the hours leading up to demonstrations on Tyneside.
Police are today probing pictures tweeted to the Elswick ward representative.
The images show Coun Ahad’s face superimposed onto the body of a man kneeling before a masked knifeman, as if he was about to be decapitated.
They were posted on Twitter just hours before German anti-Islam group Pegida held its first UK demonstration in Newcastle, alongside a counter-march by Newcastle Unites.
Coun Ahad said the author of the post had since apologised to him via Twitter after receiving condemnation by other users of the social media site.
And he has vowed not to let the troll’s actions put him off standing up for what he believes in.
But the father has admitted he is now living in constant fear for the safety of himself and his family.
Coun Ahad said:
“This was a direct threat on my life. I fear for my physical safety every day now. I’m always looking over my shoulder. But I’m not going to stop fighting for what is right. I’m not going to be intimidated.”
Muslim Coun Ahad, a life-long campaigner against racism and intolerance, was busy putting the finishing touches to Newcastle Unites’ march plans when the picture surfaced on Friday evening.
It appears to be an image of a masked Islamic State fighter holding a large knife above a hostage in an orange T-Shirt, with the councillor’s face photoshopped on to the condemned victim’s body.
Coun Ahad reported the incident to police immediately and officers are now investigating, while taking steps to look after the safety of Coun Ahad and his family.
“When my cat jumps around at night now I have to get up and check there is no one there,” he said.
“I’m more scared for my family’s safety than I am for my own. Every time I go out I am very cautious, I’m always on edge now.”
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said:
“At 7.20pm on Friday police received information regarding a malicious communication having been received via a social media site. Enquiries are ongoing and steps were taken to ensure the safety of those concerned.”
And Coun Ahad said Saturday’s events have confirmed his belief that he must continue to stand-up to hatred and prejudice, even if it means putting himself at risk.
“It is getting to the point now where you wonder whether it will ever stop,” he said.
“But I now believe it will only stop either if I shut my mouth, or if I’m dead. This is obviously just part of my life now.
“Saturday was absolutely amazing. So many people came together from different groups. It was so humbling. I’m so passionate about our communities.
“Getting threatened is not going to stop me. At least this has started a conversation and it’s opened up communication.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 02 Mar 2015
An injured woman with mobility problems was left stranded at a hospital late at night because she did not meet new NHS criteria for transport home.
Lisa Collins, who suffers from a condition that causes her knees to dislocate without warning, had been promised a taxi home from South Tyneside District Hospital when she needed treatment for an eye injury.
But, when she came to be discharged, the 22-year-old, from Westoe, South Shields, was told to make her own way home, despite wearing an eyepatch.
Ms Collins, who has undergone several operations to her legs, said:
“It was 2.30am and they expected me to walk home in the dark by myself, only being able to see out of one eye.”
The customer service advisor had hurt herself earlier in the day when her cat accidentally scratched her in the eye with his claw.
She developed an infection and called the non-emergency 111 number at 9.15pm for advice when the pain became unbearable and her vision started to blur.
She says she was told to go straight to hospital.
“I told them I was going to have to wait until the morning when I could get the bus. She said ‘we’ll sort you out a taxi there and back’.
“I said I don’t need one to get there, I could get the bus, but I would need one to get one back and they said that was OK.”
Ms Collins arrived at the hospital, in Harton Lane, at 9.30pm. Just under two hours later, after being given eye drops and an eye patch, she was discharged with a special cream and a course of antibiotics.
“It was 11.45pm so I had missed my last bus. I went to the front desk and said I was ready to get my taxi.
“That’s when the woman said I didn’t meet the criteria, saying ‘you have to be older than 65’.
“She said ‘you are young enough to get yourself home. It’s your responsibility.”
Ms Collins added:
“I told her I have mobility problems and asked her to check my medical record, but she refused.
“I live on my own. I was very upset and it made the pain in my eye a lot worse. I was crying and I had to take the bandage off, as it was wet.
“I said ‘there is no way I can get home at 1am’. I had no money. I wouldn’t get paid for another week.”
Miss Collins was then told she could have transport, but it would take up to nine hours as her case was classed as ‘non-urgent’
Her father, who lives on the other side of Newcastle, eventually managed to contact a taxi firm willing to pick her up, with him paying the fare the following day, and Miss Collins finally got home shortly before 3am.
She added: “I pay my taxes and feel the NHS has really failed me.”
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Steve Williamson said:
“We are sorry Ms Collins feels that our receptionist was rude.
“Our staff are trained to be professional and courteous at all times. If she would like to contact us, we would be very happy to look into her concerns.”
A North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman said:
“We transported this patient to South Tyneside Hospital and return transport was booked for her by the hospital.
“Due to demand elsewhere, it appears the patient preferred not to wait until transport became available, and made her own way home after the hospital cancelled her transport booking.
“Ambulances are prioritised according to clinical need and the most critically ill people will receive resources first. Unfortunately sometimes this means that some people have to wait longer.
“Where possible, we encourage patients to prepare to make their own way home from hospital so that resources are available for greater emergencies.”
Source – Shields Gazette, 24 Nov 2014
There’s no denying that the forthcoming European elections seem to be trying to be all-inclusive … in the wake of a Rotweiller dog in Norton being given the vote comes the following –
Felicity Percival, 4, of Dalton Crescent, in Shildon, County Durham, was sent the polling card this week head of the European Parliament elections on May 22.
The youngster’s bemused mother, Rebecca Currie, 24, thinks that a mix-up when the nomination form was filled in is to blame.
Miss Currie, a Teesside University student, said: “This is the first letter that Felicity has ever received. I find the whole thing amusing.
“We live with my nan, Margaret Giles, and she filled the nomination form in. I think that she must have filled it in wrongly.”
> I’ve got my voting card, but my Cat hasn’t received one. Yet.
Source – Northern Echo 15 April 2014