A man who told a 12-year-old boy who was selling poppies to raise money for The Royal British Legion that he would have him “shot by the Taliban” has walked free from jail.
Adelso Saws, who already has a conviction for armed robbery, was let off with a suspended sentence after being found guilty of threatening the Army cadet, The Express reports.
The slap-on-the-wrist comes after Romanian Marius Dura was also handed a suspended sentence after admitting he told two army cadets he was going to “chop their heads off” back in February.
Saws, 34, from Kilburn in Derbyshire told the boy he was not going to buy a poppy from him, which raises money for people who have served in the British Armed Forces, because “all you do is kill Muslims”.
The criminal, who served a ten year sentence for armed robbery and another five years for affray, then ran to his car and sped off when an older cadet challenged him.
In an interview with police, the boy described his encounter with Saws, saying: “The man said he hates the Army because they kill people and that he was going to get us shot by the Taliban.”
Another cadet who was with him told police: “This man walked over to us and said ‘I am not buying a poppy, all you do is kill people. I am going to get you shot by terrorists’.
“His girlfriend, who was with him, laughed, then they just walked off. I was offended by what was said.”
They then reported the incident to a more senior cadet, who tried to find out what had happened. He approached the man in his car, saying there must have been a “misunderstanding” because the two boys “seemed quite upset by what he had said.”
The senior cadet, who was 17 at the time, said Saws responded, saying “I don’t really care” before telling him that he killed people and he was a Muslim.
Saws was later arrested and charged with using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause fear of or provoking violence.
Despite details of the “frightening” incident being told to the judge at North East Derbyshire and Dales Magistrates Court, he was let off with 150 hours community service and told not to do it again. He was also ordered to pay £200 compensation each to the boys, £300 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
Saws had denied the offence claiming all he had said to the boy was: “I am not buying a poppy, Army kills.”
District Judge Andrew Davison told Saws, “This was a disturbing and frightening offence towards two young Army cadets who were innocently selling poppies,” before letting him walk out of court.
The local MP, Tory Pauline Latham, said she found it “shocking” that “threatening comments were made to boys of 12 and 13, especially when they were actively supporting the Royal British Legion and the work they do for the brave servicemen and women of this country.”
And others said he should have received a harsher sentence, with UKIP PPC for Romford, Gerard Batten, saying the judge should have “made an example” of Saws and “given a stiff jail sentence.”
The London MEP said the sentence was “far too lenient for someone with such a serious previous conviction.”
“His 12-year-old victim was supporting our magnificent Armed Forces and represents the decent people of this country who should be allowed to go about their business without these hideous kinds of threats.
The Royal British Legion declined to comment.