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'I'm scared to do my work after race attack', Swaffham restaurant owner tells court

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Two men launched a racially aggravated attack on the owners of a Chinese restaurant after being unhappy with their starters, a court has heard.

Michael Elmer smashed items as he overturned a table and Darren Ray tried to knock the mobile phone out of the owner’s hand as she called police.

The incident happened in The East Garden Chinese Restaurant in Swaffham on February 27, Lynn magistrates were told yesterday.

The crest above the entrance to King's Lynn Court in College Lane.. (1932544)
The crest above the entrance to King's Lynn Court in College Lane.. (1932544)

Town residents Elmer, 39, and Ray, 38, were with their partners at about 8.45pm.

Prosecutor Denise Holland said the group began eating from the All You Can Eat menu.

She added: “They refused further food and were given the bill. At that point they challenged Jenny Ye, who is the owner.

“One of the partners paid the bill. The defendants started to demand their money back. Then they asked for every item on the menu so they could take it home.

“It seems Mr Ray continued to shout and demand a refund.”

Mrs Holland said Mrs Ye’s husband, Yong, came to see what the commotion was.

One of the defendants swore at him and used a racist slur.

The prosecutor said: “Mrs Ye started to call the police. Mr Ray used his right hand to try and swipe the mobile phone from her hand. He proceeds to do that twice more. She does manage to contact the police.”

After Ray overturned the table, damaging a lazy susan, vase and crockery, he shouted: “This is England, now [expletive] back to where you came from.”

Upon the defendants’ arrest a short time later, Elmer made a derogatory remark about the couple.

Mrs Ye said in an impact statement that she was scared to do her normal work again.

Ray, of Merryweather Road, admitted racially aggravated assault and racially aggravated threatening behaviour and Elmer, of St John’s Court, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated criminal damage and racially aggravated threatening behaviour.

George Sorrell, mitigating for both defendants, said they were intoxicated and had reacted badly after being “disgruntled” when presented with a bill for the whole meal, having only eaten starters with which they were unhappy.

He added that they were both “family men” and neither regarded themselves as racist.

Each defendant was ordered to do 200 hours’ unpaid work, pay compensation of £280 for damage and £500 to the couple plus court costs of £145.

A two-year restraining order was imposed, preventing them from contacting the couple or entering the restaurant.

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