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Released from jail just hours before, thug then racially abuses someone in Maidstone town centre before launching violent tirade against police - now he’s back behind bars

PUBLISHED: 11:22 30 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:22 30 October 2017

John Sweeney

John Sweeney

Archant

Incident took place in Week Street and the High Street last September

A Maidstone man who hurled racist abuse at a police officer after he was arrested for carrying a knife - just hours after he was released from prison for a previous offence - has been thrown back in jail.

And after John Sweeney, 33, had been arrested he continued to hurl abuse - even trying to head-butt one officer.

Police were called following an incident in the town centre at around 8pm on September 1 last year.

In Week Street Sweeney was reported to have been armed with a large knife and was in a dispute with another man. He was racially abusing him and telling him to ‘get out this country’.

Sweeney pursued the man towards the High Street and at one stage was seen to take the knife from his trousers and try to pass it to an acquaintance to hold, who refused and let it drop to the floor. Police attended the scene and Sweeney then started shouting racist abuse at one of the officers.

He was arrested and while in custody his aggressive behaviour continued.

He injured one officer and tried to head-butt another. Sweeny also continued to shout racist language.

He was charged with possessing a knife in a public place, two counts of racially aggravated harassment and with assaulting a police officer.

Appearing before court Sweeney, 33, of no fixed address, initially denied all the charges, but then changed his pleas to guilty.

He was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison at Maidstone Crown Court.

PC Billy Elliston said: “Sweeney’s sentence is a reminder that if you choose to carry a knife in Kent, even if you feel it’s for your own protection, you are likely to get arrested, prosecuted and receive a tough punishment.

“The courts, quite rightly, have also demonstrated they take a dim view of anyone who uses racist language. There is never any excuse for such behaviour and Kent Police takes all matters of racial prejudice extremely seriously and will always employ a zero tolerance towards anyone demonstrating this sort of behaviour.”

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