We are welcoming the sentencing of a man following two separate hate crime incidents in Liverpool City Centre earlier this year, one targeting a victim due to disability, and the second targeting a victim due to race.
Michael Cain, 31, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to 28 weeks in prison at Liverpool Crown Court today, Wednesday 23 November. He earlier pleaded guilty to the following offences:
Aggravated common assault/beating; aggravated harassment; common assault; assault by beating; and two counts of criminal damage.
At around 10am on Wednesday 20 April, it was reported that a teenage boy was approached by Caine on Park Lane, near to the mini roundabout going towards Jamaica Street.
Cain kicked one of his crutches, directed insulting comments towards him about his disability, and threatened violence towards him.
In a separate incident, at around 4.30pm on Tuesday 24 May, it was reported that Cain directed racial slurs towards a member of staff at a shop on Church Street. It was further reported that he attempted to assault members of staff and threw a drink at them before being escorted out by security staff.
Following extensive police enquiries, including a CCTV appeal where members of the public came forward with information, Cain was arrested and charged.
The Investigating Officer, Detective Constable Mike Volynchook, spoke following the sentencing of Cain: “Both of these incidents were despicable examples of hate crime in Liverpool City Centre.
“In the first, Cain approached a 16-year-old boy, Elliott Heap, who was on his way his place of education. The victim was using crutches due to his disability, and Cain insulted him, made threats, and then kicked one of the crutches he was using for support. He then made further threats before walking away, before police were called. This nasty and spiteful behaviour left the victim shaken and fortunate not to fall and sustain injuries.
Sandra Heap, Mum of Elliott, spoke following the sentencing: “I’d like to thank the public who identified the offender from the media appeal. They rallied round and we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. People need to see the police as a positive; my son was targeted because of who he is and the police and the public couldn’t have been better.
“The police went above and beyond, the officer dealing was amazing, he was fantastic and we felt really listened to. There was integrity, they were professional and the support given was unbelievable. Elliott will be so pleased.”
D/C Volynchook continues: “In May, Cain then entered the o2 store in Church Street, Liverpool, for assistance to fix his phone. Despite staff helping him, Cain was aggressive and shouting and swearing. He then made threats of violence and used racial slurs against a staff member, before being escorted out of the store by security, knocking over a display of phones. He returned a short time later to throw a drink over staff in the shop. This abhorrent behaviour targeted people simply trying to do their jobs. Nobody should be subjected to threats, racial abuse and left fearful and deeply upset in their place of work, and we work closely with businesses to ensure they are supported in any such investigations.
“I’d like to thank both victims for supporting this prosecution, and to those members of the public and security staff who intervened. Having thought he had escaped justice for the first offence, Cain continued to exhibit the same behaviour the following month.
“It is so important that we bring these prosecutions and that society as a whole challenges hateful, threatening and violent behaviour targeting anyone based on appearance, gender identity, sexuality, race or disability. We hope that Cain’s sentence gives other victims of hate crime the confidence to come forward, and assurances that we will deal with any such incident with compassion and sensitivity, acting on all information to bring offenders to justice.”
Anyone with information on hate crime is asked to contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC. You can also call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.
If, for any reason, you do not wish to report a hate crime to the police, the independent charity Stop Hate UK to run a 24/7 confidential helpline for all victims of hate crime on 0800 138 1625 or www.stophateuk.org. You can also download the Stop Hate UK reporting app on Google Play or the Apple App Store.
Across Merseyside, we also have a number of third-party reporting centres including fire stations, citizens advice bureaus and hospitals. A list of locations can be viewed here: merseyside-third-party-hate-crime-reporting-centres.pdf