Ex Norfolk magistrate and son on trial for racial assault

1:48 PM March 1, 2022

A former Norfolk magistrate threatened an ex-tenant with an air rifle before he and his son attacked the man with a hammer and hockey stick, a court has heard.

Nigel Stringer, 71, and his son Rowan Stringer, 26, have gone on trial at Ipswich Crown Court accused of racially aggravated assault against Anthony Munatswa.

The court heard Mr Munatswa, was beaten after turning up at Nigel Stringer’s home near Long Stratton, Norfolk in 2018.

Opening the prosecution case on Monday (February 28) Christopher Paxton QC said Mr Munatswa had rented a property from Nigel Stringer between 2014 and 2016, and had left some items with him temporarily.

Mr Paxton said a county court hearing in January 2018 instructed Mr Munatswa to pay Nigel Stringer £ 800, and for Mr Stringer to return his goods, both within 14 days.

A dispute arose after Mr Munatswa attempted to collect his possessions from Mr Stringer’s home, which included 50 pairs of trainers, gym equipment and clothes.

Jurors were playing a recording of a call to police in which Mr Munatswa was heard informing officers of his intention to retrieve his property and asking for assistance in case of a breach of the peace.

Mr Munatswa climbed a locked gate to enter the grounds and video footage was shown in court of him approaching the house.

The door was opened by Nigel Stringer’s wife, and shortly afterwards Stringer came out brandishing an air rifle, which he replaced with a hockey stick.

Rowan Stringer then appeared with a penknife and hammer.

Mr Paxton said Mr Munatswa decided to retreat but was beaten by father and son with the hockey stick and hammer as he walked back to the gate.

Mobile phone footage taken by his friends showed the Stringers with the weapons, with Mr Munatswa being struck on the head with a hockey stick.

Nigel Stringer could be heard calling Mr Munatswa a “scumbag”.

Mr Paxton said evidence would be presented showing the defendants’ repeated use of a racist slur against Mr Munatswa.

The prosecutor said that in a police interview, Nigel Stringer would say he had thrown punches at him and that he had acted in self-defense.

The other charges the defendants have pleaded not guilty to are actual bodily harm, racially aggravated harassment, and assault by beating.

The jury heard it was the third time a trial had opened, although no reasons were given as to why the previous two were halted.

The trial continues.

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