Businesswoman, 46, weeps as she is spared jail after urging her Facebook followers to dress up as the Ku Klux Klan for a Black Lives Matter protest and ‘smash this nonsense’
- Wendy Rowland, 46, from Nantwich, Cheshire, spared jail for Facebook posts
- The mobile pizza van owner asked Facebook followers to ‘dress as Ku Klux Klan’
- Judge Jones imposed six-month suspended sentence and she must pay £278
A businesswoman who urged her Facebook followers to dress up as the Ku Klux Klan the night before a Black Lives Matter protest wept as she was spared jail today.
Wendy Rowland posted messages on Facebook urging people to wear KKK outfits ahead of the protest in Caernarfon, Wales.
In the post, Rowland, who runs the Amore Pizza mobile pizza van, said: ‘Come on. Let’s do it. Let’s dress as Ku Klux Klan. Who’s joining us. Let’s stand our ground!’
The 46-year-old denied being a racist and told police she ‘didn’t know anything about the KKK’.
But Rowland, from Nantwich in Cheshire, pleaded guilty to publishing written material which was threatening, abusive or insulting intending to stir up racial hatred or whereby racial hatred was likely to be stirred up on June 13 at Caernarfon.
Wendy Rowland, 46, who ran a mobile pizza van, had told police she didn’t know anything about the KKK and she wanted to protect the name of the centuries-old Black Boy inn
But Rowland, of Heron Way, Nantwich, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to publishing written material which was threatening, abusive or insulting intending to stir up racial hatred
Initially Mrs Rowland claimed that hackers had posted the comments but she later admitted that she had in fact posted the messages
Rowland also said that a centuries-old pub in the town, The Black Boy, should keep its name.
‘She denied being a racist,’ said prosecutor Carl Kelvin at Llandudno court, north Wales.
District judge Gwyn Jones imposed a six months suspended jail term and ordered Rowland to pay £278 costs. She had no previous convictions.
The prosecution said there had been a series of late-night posts made by Rowland which caused an outcry.
One said : ‘Come on Cheshire can you help me….tractors.. let’s smash this nonsense.’
Another stated : ‘Come on Wales….don’t let this happen….we live in a beautiful place why change the Back(sic) Boy…it’s history.’ Rowland added : ‘Let’s dress as Ku Klux Klan.’
At first Rowland had claimed her Facebook account had been hacked. She made a public apology in a local newspaper. But she told police she had received a number of hate messages.
The tractors would have been for a barricade to protect the pub, the court heard.
The posts had been referred to the Attorney General and permission given to prosecute her.
Wendy Rowland, who runs the Amore Pizza mobile pizza van, posted messages on Facebook encouraging people to dress as the KKK ahead of a Black Lives Matter protest in Caernarfon
Defence solicitor Tudur Owen said Rowland had ‘completely misunderstood’ what the BLM march was about. She thought it had been about the name of the historic pub and the ‘obnoxious’ remarks were made in drink.
Judge Jones told her: ‘It’s clear that very little, if any, consideration had been given as to what impact the making of the comments would have.
‘She may not have understood exactly what she had put on social media.
The judge declared : ‘You are very fortunate nothing arose which occurred in the following few days save for you understanding those comments are totally unacceptable in modern society where we should be able to live with each other in peace. Your actions were reckless as to whether hatred would be stirred up.’
He added: ‘The potential for harm is great.’